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Flood and Standing Water Dangers

Dallas County Health and Human Services - 2377 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75207

Telephone: 214-819-2000

Dallas County Health and Human Services warns residents to take precaution with flood and standing water. Flood waters and standing waters pose various risks including transmission of infectious diseases, chemical hazard exposures, and personal injuries.

flood waters

Risks from flood and standing water include:

In the air

  • Airborne viruses
  • Evaporated oil products
  • Carbon monoxide in enclosed places near gasoline motors
  • Mold spores (hazard for people with mold allergy, asthma)
  • Mosquito-borne infections, such as West Nile Virus
  • Smoke from fires

Floating on water

  • Gasoline and fuel oil from vehicles, storage tanks
  • Crude oil

Dissolved in water

  • Pesticides, herbicides
  • Lead, chromium, and other heavy metals
  • Benzene and similar carcinogens

Hazards under water

  • Sharp objects unseen in murky water
  • Drop-offs and holes can cause falls, drowning
  • Fallen electric lines possibly charged

Waterborne illnesses can also be acquired from coming in contact with flood and standing water. Microorganisms that cause diseases such as Cyclosporiasis and Cryptosporidiosis are commonly found in contaminated water. These germs can enter the body by accidental swallowing, ingestion, or swimming in contaminated water.

DCHHS recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands frequently.

    If you come in contact with flood waters, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. Practice good hygiene for yourself and your family.

  • Do not swim in flood waters.

    Aside from all other flood water risks, drowning is the leading cause of death during a flood.

  • Avoid contact with wildlife.

    Many animals, insects, and reptiles can be displaced by flood waters. If you see an animal in an unusual environment, do not attempt to help it on your own. Call your local animal control service.

  • Avoid mosquito exposure.

    Mosquitoes are extremely prevalent among standing water areas, especially floods. Be sure to wear insect repellent and drain or treat standing water with larvicides, such as mosquito dunks.