Port St. Joe, Fla.— Due to the potential effects on water quality related to Hurricane Michael, the Florida Department of Health has issued a precautionary swim advisory for all public Gulf County beaches. At this time, swimming is not recommended.
Tests will be conducted, when possible, to determine the water quality at these locations. The latest testing on Gulf beach waters will be updated on DOH’s website here.
Until results are available from testing planned for next week, you should assume that water contact may pose an increased risk of disease, particularly for immunocompromised individuals.
There may also be unseen hazards under the water in areas that received storm surge or freshwater flooding. Residents should avoid contact with floodwaters. Floodwaters have the potential to hide debris and other hazards, as well as contain fecal matter from sewage systems, agricultural and industrial waste, and septic tanks.
Basic hygiene is very important after individuals encounter floodwaters:
Those affected should wash hands with soap and water immediately after coming into contact;
Use only water that has been boiled for one minute (and allowed to cool) or water that has been disinfected with 8 drops of bleach per gallon for washing hands before eating, after toilet use, after helping in cleanup activities and after handling items contaminated by floodwater or sewage.
If you have open cuts or sores exposed to the floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and disinfected water or boiled, then cooled water. Apply topical antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection. If a wound or sore develops redness, swelling or drainage, see a physician.
Do not allow children to play with toys that have been in floodwater until the toys have been disinfected. Use 1/4 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water to disinfect toys and other water-resistant items.
About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.