Watch Out for Poisoning after a Hurricane
Poisoning is an underappreciated hazard related to hurricanes. But after a disaster, many people might find that they are falling ill and not know what is to blame. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has highlighted 3 types of poisoning to watch out for following a hurricane or other disaster.
Hurricanes can knock out power for days, which will immediately begin to compromise food safety. Perishables like dairy and meat are not safe to eat if the power has been off for at least 4 hours, even if they have been stored in the refrigerator. Furthermore, if you use contaminated water in cooking, you can get ill that way.
Some of the symptoms of food poisoning include:
To protect yourself and your family, don’t eat any food that looks questionable. Instead, throw it out. Ideally, you will have non-perishable food items in stock so you can eat those instead as you wait for power to be restored and grocery stores to open again.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
People might suffer carbon monoxide poisoning when they use a generator after a hurricane knocks out their power. Unfortunately, the carbon monoxide generated is invisible, tasteless, and has no scent. This means that you won’t know if you are inhaling too much. At least 16 deaths attributable to Hurricane Irma were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.
To protect yourself, you should put the generator at least 20 feet from a door or window. You can also install carbon monoxide detectors in your home that run on batteries. This way, you can get outside if the monoxide levels get too high.
Also pay attention to your symptoms. You might be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning if you experience dizziness, vomiting, confusion, headache, weakness, or nausea. Find fresh air if you do feel this way.
In the rush and confusion to evacuate your home, you might take the wrong medications. You could also take too many. The elderly, in particular, can be knocked off their routine and could overmedicate, which can have disastrous consequences. Children could also gain access to medications and take them unobserved. You should guard medications after a natural disaster, along with your other valuables.
This is one poison that the CDC didn’t mention, but it warrants a brief discussion here. Mold can grow anywhere in your home that has suffered water damage but is particularly popular growing behind walls. Toxic molds can lead to flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, runny nose, and sneezing. Toxic molds, such as black mold, should be cleaned up immediately. You might need to hire an expert to clean the mold in your home, since it is often dangerous to do so yourself.
To prevent mold, ensure that all water-logged items are removed from the home and dried as soon as possible. This means you might need to rip out sheetrock, ceiling tiles, and carpets after a hurricane.
Bundza & Rodriguez Encourages All our Clients to Stay Safe
If you have an insurance dispute after a hurricane, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. Our Daytona Beach hurricane insurance claims attorneys have helped many clients file and settle claims, so give us a call at 386-252-5170.