Hurricanes, flooding and other natural disasters raise concerns about the spread of viruses that can be prevented with vaccines. The Louisiana Department of Health advises that residents and those working with the public during and after Tropical Storm Barry consider vaccinations to protect against infectious diseases.

While both children and adults should be vaccinated according to recommended schedules, it may be necessary to receive another dose if you’ve been exposed through contaminated water or other close contact following the storm.

Below, guidance and recommendations to consider:

  • Follow good personal hygiene, including the use of soap and water when washing your hands.
  • Hand sanitizers are also effective at preventing disease.
  • Ask about a tetanus vaccination (DT or DTaP) if it has been longer than 10 years since you last received one.
  • Follow the state’s immunization schedule for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and chicken pox vaccinations.
  • If you’ve been exposed to blood or bodily fluids, ask a doctor for recommendations for post-exposure prophylaxis.
  • If you’re working in a shelter or in a healthcare role and are under vaccinated, receive the missing vaccines.
  • All wounds should be immediately cleaned and bandaged. You should also see a doctor and receive a tetanus shot if your last dose was more than five years ago.
  • Animal bites or scratches require a medical evaluation for the possibility of rabies.

Transmission of hepatitis A is not a concern following a hurricane or flood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states there is a low probability of exposure and no transmission of the virus from contaminated water has been identified since the 1980s. However, if you are concerned about hepatitis A or any other vaccine-preventable illness, please see your physician, your local pharmacy or a public health unit for guidance.