Flood and Hurricane Health Resources

Flood Health Info

Floodwater Health Information

Contaminated floodwaters can be dangerous, exposing people to various types of bacterial and fungal infections. Soft tissue infections can enter the skin through open cuts and wounds.

Floating debris found in floodwaters can cause puncture wounds and openings in the skin. Illnesses like Vibrio, gastrointestinal infection, and skin rashes may occur. Do not play in floodwaters! It's important to protect yourself.

If you have come into contact with floodwaters:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Clean all open cuts and wounds with soap and water. If you do not have soap and water, use hand sanitizer or alcohol wipes.
  • Seek medical attention if wounds become infected (redness, swelling, or oozing at the site).
  • Wash all clothing that was in contact with flood waters with hot water and detergent.
  • Update your Tetanus booster, especially if you are unsure of the date of your last booster.
  • Get your flu shot.

If you must come into contact with floodwater:

  • Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles.
  • Watch for any animals, rodents, or snakes.
  • Cover any open wounds with waterproof bandages.
  • Avoid electrical hazards. Shut off power and natural gas/propane tanks in your home.

If you believe you have contracted an illness, skin infection, or need to update your tetanus, call the Lamar University Student Health Center at 409-880-8466 to make an appointment with a medical provider.

Coping with Stress after Traumatic Events

These events create a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for those directly and indirectly affected. In the days and weeks following a disaster, you may begin to have some common reactions.

You may feel:

  • Disbelief and shock or panic
  • Fear and anxiety about the future
  • Disorientation; difficulty making decisions or concentrating
  • Apathy and emotional numbing
  • Nightmares and reoccurring thoughts about the event
  • Irritability and anger
  • Sadness and depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling powerless
  • Changes in eating patterns; loss of appetite or overeating
  • Crying for 'no apparent reason'
  • Headaches, back pains and stomach problems
  • Difficulty sleeping or falling asleep
  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs

It is 'normal' to have difficulty managing your feelings after major traumatic events. However, if you don’t deal with the stress, it can be harmful to your mental and physical health.

Here are some tips for coping in these difficult times:

  • Communicate. Talk about it. By talking with others about the event, you can relieve stress and realize that others share your feelings.
  • Prioritize. Take one thing at a time. For people under stress, an ordinary workload can sometimes seem unbearable. Pick one urgent task and work on it. Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. 'Checking off' tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment and make things feel less overwhelming.
  • Limit exposure to images of the disaster. Watching or reading news about the event over and over again will only increase your stress.
  • Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and exercise, and eat properly. Find time for activities you enjoy. Read a book, go for a walk, catch a movie or do something else you find enjoyable. These healthy activities can help you get your mind off the disaster and keep the stress in check.
  • Do something positive. Give blood, prepare 'care packages' for people who have lost relatives or their homes or jobs, or volunteer in a rebuilding effort. Helping other people can give you a sense of purpose in a situation that feels 'out of your control'.
  • Avoid self-medicating. Drugs and alcohol may temporarily seem to remove stress, but in the long run they generally create additional problems that compound the stress you were already feeling.
  • Ask for help when you need it. If you have strong feelings that won’t go away, get professional help. People who have existing mental health problems and those who have survived past trauma may also want to check in with a mental health care professional.

Help is available! Make an appointment with a counselor to discuss how well you are coping with the recent events. Don’t try to cope alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

Call the Lamar University Student Health Center at 409-880-8466.