Health: Drinking Water Safety After Hurricane Sandy

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(Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

(Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

stephanie-web Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After a hurricane, especially where there’s flooding, drinking water may not be available or safe. Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more on drinking water safety.

Water is not safe to drink in some areas. It’s been contaminated by bacteria in the flood water.

Right now, health officials in Atlantic City are advising residents not to use the water unless it is boiled.

We have some advice from doctors on the front lines in keeping people safe in the aftermath of the storm.

“To be on the safe side, make sure you boil water first, right after an event so you don’t get sick from the bacteria, the parasites that might be in the contaminated water,” said Dr. Rick Hong, an emergency medicine specialist at Cooper University Hospital.

Bottled water is another option if the public water in your neighborhood isn’t safe. And we’re not just talking about drinking water. Be sure to use clean water for things like washing dishes, brushing your teeth, washing and preparing food, and making ice or baby formula.

Boiling is the best way to make water safer. Here’s the advice: Bring clear water to a rolling boil for one minute. Let that cool, and then be sure to store it in a sanitized container with tight cover.

There are sporadic advisories, so it’s best to check with your local township on the safety of your water.

For more information from NJ health officials on drinking water safety, visit: http://nj.gov/health/er/documents/qa.pdf

For more from the CDC on preventing illness after Hurricane Sandy, visit: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/foodwater.asp

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