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The Flooding is over… now what?

Photo courtesy: ABC news

When returning to a flood-affected area remember that wild animals, including rats, mice, snakes or spiders, may be trapped in your home, shed or garden.

After a flood – general tips

  • Do not approach wild or stray animals. For advice about dealing with animals contact your local animal shelter or vet.

  • Store away all food to avoid attracting rats and mice (for example, store food in containers with secure lids).

  • Watch out for snakes.

  • Mosquitoes can breed rapidly in stagnant waters and become a nuisance. Take precautions to control mosquitoes around your home.

  • Remove pets and other animals that have died as soon as possible. For advice on safe disposal speak to your local animal shelter or vet.

Floods – dealing with snakes

Snakes can lose their home during a flood. As a result, they may look for shelter and food inside houses, storage sheds and other buildings. Damaged structures and debris are more accessible to snakes.

When outdoors:

  • Wear sturdy work boots and gloves, and long pants to protect your legs.

  • Watch where you place your hands and feet when removing or cleaning up debris.

  • If you see a snake, step back from it slowly and allow it to proceed on its way. Do not touch it.

  • Remove debris from around your home as soon as practically possible because it can attract rodents, lizards and insects on which snakes feed.

  • Be aware of snakes that may be swimming in the water trying to get to higher ground.

When indoors:

  • If you find a snake in your house, do not panic.

  • Seek advice from someone who knows how to safely remove the snake. Contact the a local animal shelter or call 9-1-1 or your local emergency response telephone number.

If you are bitten by a snake:

  • Remain calm and move beyond the snake's striking distance.

  • Remove jewelry and tight clothing before you start to swell.

  • Position yourself, if possible, so that the bite is at or below the level of your heart.

  • Clean the wound, but don't flush it with water. Cover it with a clean, dry dressing.

  • Keep still and calm, and get medical help quickly by calling nine-one-one (911) or your local emergency response telephone number.

  • Don't use a tourniquet or apply ice. Don't cut the wound or attempt to remove the venom.

  • Don't drink caffeine or alcohol, which could speed your body's absorption of venom.

  • Don't try to capture the snake. Try to remember its color and shape so that you can describe it, which will help in your treatment.

Floods – spiders

If you are bitten by a spider:

  • Wash the affected area well and soothe the pain with ice packs or clean iced water.

  • Applying pressure is not recommended for spider bites and often worsens the pain.

  • Find immediate medical help.

For other spider bites:

  • Wash the area with soap and water.

  • Apply a cold pack if the bite is painful.

  • For most spider bites, no other first aid is necessary.

  • Contact your doctor if symptoms develop or persist.

Floods – rats and mice

Rodents (such as mice and rats) carry diseases and are a nuisance. To avoid rats and mice after a flood:

  • Remove food and items that can provide shelter for rodents.

  • Wash dishes and cooking utensils immediately after use.

  • Get rid of garbage and debris as soon as possible by placing it into a rubbish bin with a lid prior to collection and disposal.

  • Lay rodent baits or traps in dry areas, following the label directions and keep them out of reach of children and animals.

After a flood – avoiding mosquitoes

Rain and flooding may lead to an increase in mosquito numbers as water subsides and pools form. In your area, some mosquitoes can carry diseases such as Malaria virus, West Nile virus or Zika virus, which can be passed on to people through mosquito bites.

Things to do to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Wear long pants, socks and long-sleeved shirts, and apply an insect repellent containing N, N-diethyl-mtoluamide (DEET) or pircaridin to your skin.

  • Follow the directions on the repellent’s product label.

  • Take care when using repellents on small children. Avoid parts of children’s hands that may touch their eyes or mouth.

To help control mosquito populations around your home:

  • If practical, drain any water left standing outdoors in open containers such as flowerpots, unused tins, tyres or buckets.

  • Change your pet’s drinking water regularly.

After a flood – dealing with flies

If food and garbage builds up, this becomes a breeding ground for flies. This is a problem, as flies carry diseases and are a nuisance. To avoid this, clean up food waste as soon as possible by placing it into a rubbish bin with a lid prior to collection and disposal.

Where to get help

  • If you have been bitten by a snake get immediate medical attention by calling nine-one-one (911) or your local emergency response telephone number.

  • If you have been bitten or injured by an animal or insect seek advice from your doctor.

  • For further advice contact the Environmental Health Unit at the Department of Health and Human Services check your government list pages or Google it for your location.

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