For Immediate Release
May 7, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Issues Health Recommendations in Response to Tornados and Flooding

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is advising residents affected by recent tornados and flooding to take the following precautions to protect their health:

For more information, visit the FEMA Web site on flooding at:

Food Safety: Before considering a food product safe, carefully inspect it. Many products can become contaminated even if they are in a container. When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t eat or save the foods if they have come into contact with floodwaters. Unopened cans or jars that are not dented, cracked, rusty, or with bulging seams should be safe, but remember to disinfect the top before opening it.

Cleaning up your home: Basements hit by floodwaters require disinfecting and cleaning. Don’t remove water from the basement too quickly or the pressure from the saturated soil surrounding the basement may cause the walls to collapse. To help air out the basement, open windows and doors. Window exhaust fans can be helpful, but take care in selecting a place to put the fan to avoid risk of electrical shock. Before beginning a flood clean-up, check to see if your tetanus booster shot is current. Tetanus shots are available at local health departments and many physician offices.

Wastewater systems: The storms and heavy rains over the last week have impacted municipal water supplies and wastewater control systems for municipalities and livestock operations. Areas affected in Kansas are generally from Pottawatomie County southwesterly to Kiowa County. Wastewater control systems for livestock facilities have reported being inundated by the heavy rains. Discharges from holding lagoons have been reported from feeding operations within the storm-impacted areas. Problems with water and wastewater systems will likely continue until this period of heavy rain and storms subside. Operators are encouraged to contact KDHE at 785-296-5500 regarding any problems to help assure appropriate assistance may be provided.