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Department of Health Warns of Safety After the Storm

The National Weather Service in Jackson is busy conducting damage assessments after Wednesday’s severe weather. Jasper, Clarke, Lauderdale, Leake, Neshoba, Winston, and Noxubee counties were affected. We’ll know more when they release the results of their survey this evening.

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) continues to monitor the health impacts of recent severe weather. Significant power outages, home repairs, and flooding can create dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations, even days after the storms have ended.

Mississippi residents should take the following special precautions against health risks after the storm:

Drinking-Water Safety

In times of severe weather or flooding, any loss or significant drop in your water pressure, even if it is brief, means that your water supply could be contaminated by groundwater. If you notice an interruption, loss of pressure, or significant drop in pressure in your water service, follow standard boil-water precautions below. If you are unsure of the safety of your water, contact your water supply operator.

If your area is officially notified that emergency water purification is necessary, MSDH advises the following:

· Vigorously boil water for at least a full minute before using.

· Treat chemically by adding unscented chlorine bleach in these amounts: two drops of bleach for each quart of clear water or four drops of bleach for each quart of muddy or dirty water. Let the water stand at least 30 minutes before using.

Power Outages: Preventing Fire Hazards

Using battery-powered lanterns and flashlights is preferable to using candles.

If you must use candles, make sure you put them in safe holders away from curtains, paper, wood, or other flammable items.

Clearing Standing Water: Preventing Mosquito-Borne Illness

Heavy rains and flooding can lead to an increase in mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most active at sunrise and sunset. Public health authorities will be working actively to control the spread of any diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.

To protect against mosquitoes, MSDH urges the public to remain diligent in their personal mosquito protection efforts. These should include the 4 Ds for prevention:

· Dusk and Dawn — Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood, for many species, this is during the dusk and dawn hours.

· Dress — Wear clothing that covers the skin.

· DEET — When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended. In addition to those containing DEET, insect repellents including the ingredients picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus in mosquito repellents are recommended for use on human skin. Always read the manufacturer’s directions carefully before you put on a repellent.

· Drainage — Check your home to rid it of standing water in which mosquitoes can lay their eggs.

Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at


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