VDH: Beware of health risks, dangerous roadways after heavy rain

VDH: Beware of health risks, dangerous roadways after heavy rain
Heavy rainfall across the WBTV viewing area caused major flooding that led to evacuations, water rescues and school closings throughout Thursday morning. (Source: David Flower/City of Charlotte)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia Department of Health is asking residents to take additional precautions while participating in recreational water activities.

The department said in a release that heavy rains increase the risk of animal waste, bacteria, debris and other pollutants in waterways.

Contaminated water can cause gastrointestinal illnesses, which may cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain or fever. It can also cause upper respiratory, such as ear, nose, throat, and skin infections.

Here are some tips for those who plan to get in natural waters after heavy rain:

  • Avoid getting water in your mouth and never swallow water from an untreated water source.
  • Don’t swim if you have broken skin. Bacteria, viruses and other organisms can infect wounds causing more serious illness.
  • Shower with soap and water after recreating in natural waters.
  • Don’t swim when you are ill.
  • Don’t swim if dead fish are present.

When driving, use caution and avoid risks if you encounter covered roads or fast-moving waters, as water could be deeper and moving faster than you think.

To find the location of local wastewater treatment facilities, contact your local public works department. To contact your local health department, visit this website.

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