(News/Talk 1480 WHBC) – As floodwaters persist across the region, health officials are urging people to protect themselves from that water.

Parents are urged to not let their kids or pets play in floodwaters.

Health officials say floodwaters likely contain several things that can harm your health and should be avoided.

Floodwater can contain:

• Downed power lines
• Human and livestock waste
• Household, medical, and industrial hazardous waste (chemical, biological, and radiological)
• Coal ash waste that can contain carcinogenic compounds such as arsenic, chromium, and mercury
• Other contaminants that can lead to illness
• Physical objects such as lumber, vehicles, glass, metal fragments and debris
• Wild or stray animals such as rodents and snakes

Exposure to contaminated floodwater can cause:
• Wound infections
• Skin rash
• Gastrointestinal illness
• Tetanus

If you come in contact with floodwater:

• If you must enter floodwater wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles to prevent injuries.
• Wash exposed areas with soap and clean water as soon as possible. If you don’t have soap or water, use alcohol-based wipes or sanitizer.
• Take care of wounds and seek medical attention if necessary.
• Wash clothes contaminated with flood or sewage water in hot water and detergent before reusing them.
• If you receive a puncture wound or a wound contaminated with feces, soil, or saliva, have a health care professional determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary based on individual records.
• Prompt first aid can help heal small wounds and prevent infection.