For Immediate Release
June 12, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Issues Health and Safety Tips for Persons Affected by Storms

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is providing health and safety information to protect residents in the wake of Wednesday evening’s storms in central and northeast Kansas:

Heat-related illness: Follow these steps to minimize the risk of heat-related illness:

How to Recognize Heat-related Illness:
Watch for signs such as faintness, dizziness, cramps, headache, chest pain and/or breathing problems. Heat stroke, the most severe form of heat related illness, is considered a medical emergency. Heat stroke is characterized by headache, hot and dry skin, temperature of 103 degrees or higher, rapid and shallow breathing, disorientation and changes in consciousness. The person should be cooled quickly with cold, wet sheets or a cool bath and taken to the nearest medical care facility.

Carbon m onoxide (CO) poisoning: Generators and gasoline engines are often used when there are power outages. CO is a poisonous gas is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by small gasoline engines, stoves, and generators. CO cannot be seen or smelled and can kill in minutes. Tips to avoid CO poisoning:

How to Recognize CO Poisoning:
Exposure to CO can cause loss of consciousness and death. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms. If CO poisoning is suspected, seek medical attention right away.

Food Safety: KDHE recommends the following to protect against potential foodborne illness due to loss of electrical power that keeps foods refrigerated:

When Power is Restored:

Boil Water Advisory: The City of Chapman’s water system suffered storm damage Wednesday night, resulting in a loss of pressure in the system. Once water service is restored, customers should observe the following precautions until further notice:

The advisory for Chapman will remain in effect until testing of water samples indicates no evidence of contamination and all other conditions which place the systems at risk of contamination are deemed by KDHE officials to be resolved. The city and/or KDHE will notify media when the boil water advisory has been rescinded.

Stream Advisory Issued for Smoky Hill River Below Chapman: KDHE has issued a stream advisory for the Smoky Hill River in Dickinson and Geary Counties. This stream advisory applies the Smoky Hill River from Chapman and continues downstream to the confluence of the Smoky Hill River with the Republican River at Junction City.

The public and landowners along the Smoky Hill River are advised to avoid contact and to restrict pets and livestock from contact with the river until the extent of the impact from the release can be determined.

The wastewater treatment plant is not functioning as a result of tornado damage to the electrical system. Raw sewage will continue to flow into the Smoky Hill River until power is restored to the wastewater plant.

KDHE anticipates elevated levels of pathogens in this area of the Smoky Hill River as a result of the release. The stream advisory is in effect until Tuesday, June 17. KDHE will evaluate the need to further extend the advisory at that point in time.

General Safety Precautions: Here are some safety precautions that could help you avoid injury after a tornado:

Inspecting the Damage:

Safety During Clean Up:

Anxiety: Symptoms of anxiety may not appear for weeks or even months after a tornado; they can affect people of any age. If anxiety disrupts daily activities for any member of your family, seek professional assistance through a school counselor, community religious organization, your physician, or a licensed professional. Counselors are listed under Mental Health Services in the yellow pages of your telephone directory.