RECENT flooding on the Coffs Coast has increased the risk of contaminated water and the potential for disease outbreaks, according to the health service.
As the mop up continues from flooding earlier this week, the North Coast Area Service (NCAHS) is urging residents to take care during the clean up.
“All residual floodwaters should be regarded as potentially contaminated,” a spokesperson said.
“Appropriate steps should be taken to minimise the risk of acquiring illness or infections due to skin contact or the swallowing of water.”
Swimming in contaminated water may cause illness such as coughs and colds, ear and eye infections, fever and diarrhoea.
“The greatest potential risk is posed by microbial contamination of the waters by organisms such as bacteria, viruses and algae,” the spokesperson said.
The NCAHS recommends avoiding unnecessary contact with floodwaters, washing your hands thoroughly after handling flood affected items, cleaning any cuts with antiseptic and covering them immediately, and seeking immediate medical assistance should you or any of your family experience severe diarrhoea or vomiting.
But personal hygiene is not the only issue, with the health service also urging residents to contact their local doctor if they experience a prolonged period of distress.