The Louisiana Department of Health (DHH) is advising Louisiana residents displaced by the current floods of the importance of vaccinating themselves and their children against preventable diseases.
"Anytime a person or family evacuates out of their own home, the risk of infection increases," said LDH Immunization Program Medical Director Dr. Frank Welch. "When you evacuate, whether it's to an emergency shelter, to a hotel or just to stay with friends or family, you expose yourself to more people who may be able to get you or your loved ones sick, and the stress of a disaster like these floods may also weaken your immune system. If you are displaced from your home, you should contact your health care provider or the staff at your shelter to ask about vaccines."
The LDH's Office of Public Health's (OPH) Immunization Program has provided the summary of vaccination recommendations below. Health care providers and shelter workers can contact the Immunization Program staff at (504) 838-5300 for additional guidance.
- All residents who have evacuated their home are encouraged to speak to their health care provider or their shelter's medical staff about vaccinations, especially regarding flu or tetanus (if the resident has experienced a cut or puncture wound).
- All first responders should have an up-to-date tetanus vaccination. OPH is currently working with local governments and shelters to provide these vaccinations.
LDH staff are also reminding residents about the dangers flood waters pose, including the lingering dangers they create in homes that have experienced flooding. Mold, contaminated well water, displaced animals and other hazards are all dangers that residents who have evacuated from a flooded area could potentially return home to.
For more information on these issues, residents are encourage to review the resources below.
- General Floodwater Safety and Flood Resources
- Returning Home After a Flood
- Floodwater Cleanup
- Private Well Testing
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. To learn more about LDH, visit www.dhh.la.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's Twitter account and Facebook.