Health risks go up as water levels go down

Leah Durain reports.

SOUTHEAST TEXAS - With water levels going down, health risks are going up. Homeowners cleaning out flooded structures could come into contact with a slew of bacteria. There are options across the area for your medical needs.

"I actually drove all over town trying to find a tetanus shot," said Lakeview Homeowner Glen Sledge.

He found what he was looking for across from Vidor High School. The military setting up a medical tent offering tetanus shots and first aid.

Doctors recommend getting a shot if you haven't had one in the last ten years or if you have an open wound and haven't been immunized in the last five years.

Care facilities across the area are seeing Southeast Texans doing their best to prevent infection.

In Port Arthur, more than one tetanus shot per minute was administered at the Health Department.

But the supply quickly ran out. Meanwhile, emergency rooms are still full.

"In the last five days we've seen over 2,000 patients in our emergency room," said Dar Kavouspour, M.D. He works at Christus Southeast Texas Hospital St. Elizabeth. "These are patients that never would have been able to be seen had we not been open."

The level-three trauma center put their 8,000 gallon reserve water tanks to use during and after the storm. The supply was essential when the City of Beaumont lost water service.

The hospital is seeing everything from falls to chainsaw accidents, heart attacks, and sadly, stabbings and shootings.

"All of our community members are going to need our help whether it's medical, surgical, traumatic, we haven't stopped," said Kavouspour. "If anything the volume has actually increased now that the weather has gotten better."

With Southeast Texans now entering the cleaning phase after the storm, new dangers are lurking around every flooded-out building.

"One of the most important things is to make sure you protect your feet and your hands as you clean up," said Cindy Powers, the infection prevention specialist at St. Elizabeth. "So wader boots, knee boots and then heavy gloves and then don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands."

Promptu Immediate Care on Dowlen Rd. in Beaumont is offering free tetanus shots Tuesday for the first 100 customers.

They open at 9 a.m.

Meanwhile, the Port Arthur Health Department says they'll let us know as soon as they get in a new supply of tetanus shots.

© 2017 KBMT-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment