PUBLIC health officials on the Isle of Wight have issued important advice and guidance on how to stay safe around flood water amid the extreme weather events of the past few days — and with Storm Ciaran on its way.

While floods cause damage to properties, the water can also present a health concern for those who come into contact with it.

Flooding can also have longer-term effects related to people’s mental health and wellbeing, and their respiratory health, due to exposure to mould and damp.

Simon Bryant, director of Public Health at the Isle of Wight Council, has stressed the importance of taking care of our physical and mental health during floods — and after they recede.

‘’Flood water can not only be damaging to your home, but your health too," he said.

"Having your home and property flooded can be very distressing — and it can affect your mental and physical wellbeing.

"Some of these impacts may continue even after the flood water has gone. However, there are a number of things you can do to support your wellbeing and that of your family and neighbours.

"Remember, some people may be at greater risk of health effects due to flooding than others and, if you are helping someone, make sure you can do this safely, linking in with council services and other forms of support, as needed.”

The government has produced a useful guide to staying well during and after a flood.

Here is a quick guide:

  • Try not to come into direct contact with flood water. If you must go into the water, wear waterproof gloves and rubber boots. Be careful of hidden hazards.
  • Wash your hands! Warm, clean water and soap, then rinse and dry your hands after being in contact with flood water. Use hand sanitiser if no clean water is available.
  • Keep open cuts or sores clean and use waterproof plasters to prevent exposure.
  • Keep children out of the water. Moving water can contain unseen hazards and harmful bugs that can make you ill or cause injury.
  • Do not eat any food that has been in contact with floodwater.
  • Flooding is stressful. It is normal to feel anxious or have trouble sleeping. Take care of yourself and check on elderly and vulnerable friends and neighbours.
  • Follow safety instructions if using generators to clear flood water.