As folks around the nation worry about that tub of wash that needs doing or the breakfast dishes still sitting in the sink, many people in Texas are far from the comfort of having one of those days. The people returning to their homes in Texas to pick up some of their belongings have to worry about their sewage soaked carpets and even snakes slithering through the water covering their floors.
Maya Wadler was rescued from her home at about 4 a.m. last Sunday, but before the rescue crew arrived, she watched as brownish-gray flood waters “bubbled up from the doors” and “seeped in from the windows,” she told the New York Times. The flood water in many parts of Texas is like liquid sewage because of all of the things the water has picked up and carried along with it.
Some people might think of the flood water as the type of water you would find at the beach or even that water full of silt flowing down a river, but it is not. What the flood water consists of is mostly filth and waste. As the Business Insider describes it today, “flood waters act like sponges for hazards.”
Everywhere that water has traveled, it has picked up objects of all shapes and sizes. Some of these objects are sharp, and some of the substances are biohazards. The water contains insects, wildlife, and even carcasses of animals that didn’t make it in the flood. While the Department of Health warns people to stay out of the water, that is impossible for many of the situations happening in Texas this week.
Remember, raw sewage, dog droppings, cat litter all mixed up in flood water. Best to avoid it when possible. How to stay safe. https://t.co/rjAnTEHFC3— Lorraine Graves (@LGSentinel) August 28, 2017
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that the flood waters can carry “raw sewage, industrial chemicals, and solvents.” For this reason, when you get out of the flood waters, wash up. Not only does it pick up animal waste from the fields and pastures, but it also picks up human waste from the sewers that are also overflowing with water.
After Hurricane Katrina, a bacteria was introduced from the ocean water into the urban areas where the flooding occurred. This is now a concern for Texas today. This bacteria is called Vibrio. In the wake of Katrina, it took five lives and claimed a total of 22 limbs from people who needed an amputation due to the damage done by Vibrio.
Getting a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one in the last decade is highly recommended. This disease is caused by a bacteria that can be found in sewage, soil, dust, or manure. It enters through a cut or puncture wound in your body and causes “lock jaw,” which is another name for tetanus. This condition causes a person’s jaw and/or neck muscles to lock.
The flood water is dangerous in many ways. You can see the color of the flood water in the picture above. There are poisonous snakes that live in the water in Texas, and they can easily slip in under a gap at the bottom of a door. “Storm activity definitely increases the potential for snakebite as the snakes get flooded out and seek higher ground,” stated Bryan Fry, an expert on venomous snakes at the University of Queensland in Australia, as reported byThe Washington Post.
Once the water subsides, another problem comes to life with mold. Nearly half of all houses inspected after Hurricane Katrina had visible mold, according to the CDC website. The still water that will puddle around the area for a long time once the flood waters subside is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, according to the experts.
So, while sitting at home and pondering the daily tasks that need to be done around your home, think about the Texas flood survivors and how your kind of day now probably looks like a luxury to them.
[Featured Image by hareluya/Shutterstock]