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Hurricanes can leave behind tons of damage, including flooding, but did you know treading through the wrong kind of water can cause illnesses and even death?

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Floodwaters and standing water are often contaminated, posing several risks, such as infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries.

Here are six sicknesses you should beware of in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.


Drinking or eating anything that has come in contact with floodwaters can lead to cryptosporidiosis, E. coli or giardiasis. While cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are brought on by parasites, E. coli is caused by bacteria.

Symptoms from each include diarrhea, gas, nausea and vomiting. Cryptosporidiosis, however, can even be fatal for those with weakened immune systems from conditions such as AIDS or cancer.

Open wounds and rashes that are exposed to flood water can cause tetanus or Vibrio vulnificus. Tetanus is a bacterial infection, and it can enter the body through breaks in the skin like a cut. Vibrio vulnificus, another bacteria, can be contracted the same way. Many people become infected by consuming undercooked shellfish or exposing an injury to brackish or salt water.

People affected by flooded areas can also get trench foot. It occurs when your feet are wet for long periods of time. It can cause pain, swelling and numbness.

You should also be aware of chemical hazards from materials that may have spilled into the water. And be cautious of electrical hazards, since there are puddles that may be electrified due to fallen power lines.

Curious about other diseases you can catch? Take a look at the full list at CDC’s official website.

AJC Najja Parker |
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