The dangers from a storm do not end after it passes. As residents continue to recover from Hurricane Ian, the Florida Department of Health in Osceola County (FDOH-Osceola) encourages everyone to observe safety precautions.

Food safety: Preventing Food-Borne Diseases
• Do not eat any food that may have come been in contact with contaminated water from flooding.
• Commercially prepared cans of food should not be eaten if there is bulging or an opening on the can or the screw caps, soda pop bottle tops or twist-caps.
• Assume that home-canned food is unsafe.
• Infants should be fed only pre-mixed, canned baby formula. Do not use powdered formulas prepared with treated water. Use boiled water when preparing formula.
• Frozen and refrigerated foods can be unsafe after a hurricane. Thawed and refrigerated foods should be thrown out.

Sanitation and Hygiene: Preventing Waterborne Illness
• Basic hygiene is very important. Always wash your hands using soap with water that has been boiled or disinfected before eating, after toilet use, after participating in cleanup activities, and after handling articles contaminated by floodwater or sewage.
• Avoid flood waters. Flooding that occurs after a hurricane may mean that water contains fecal matter from sewage systems, agricultural waste, industrial waste, and septic tanks.
• If you have open cuts or sores exposed to the floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and disinfected or boiled water. Apply antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection. If a wound or sore develops redness, swelling or drainage, see a physician immediately.
• Do not allow children to play with toys that have been in floodwater until the toys have been disinfected. Use ¼ cup of bleach in one gallon of water to disinfect toys and other items.

Power Outages: Preventing Fire Hazards
• Using battery-powered lanterns and flashlights is preferable to using candles.
• If you must use candles, make sure you keep them away from curtains, paper, wood, or other flammable items.

Drain and Cover: Preventing Mosquito-Borne Illness
• Heavy rains and flooding can lead to an increase in mosquitoes. FDOH-Osceola urges the public to remain diligent in their personal mosquito protection efforts. These should include the “5 D’s” for prevention:
o Dusk and Dawn – Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active. For many species, this is during the dusk and dawn hours. o Dress – Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.
o 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. Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are other repellent options.
o Drain – Check around your home and drain standing water.
• Infants should be kept indoors or mosquito netting should be used over carriers when mosquitoes are present.

For additional information, visit the Florida Division of Emergency Management. For Osceola County resources, visit the Osceola County Office of Emergency Management’s Hurricane Center.