Due to the potential impact on water quality in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County has issued a countywide precautionary swim advisory for all public beaches.


Officials say tests will be conducted to determine the water quality at public beaches. Until those results are available, swimming is not recommended.


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The department is also urging residents to avoid contact with floodwaters that come from an overflow of any water body from rivers, lakes, or oceans. Floodwater may contain fecal matter from sewage systems, agricultural and industrial waste, and septic tanks. Floodwaters can also mask debris, downed power lines, and other hazards.


DOH recommends the following precautions after hurricanes.


• Follow basic hygiene during this emergency period. Always wash your hands with soap and water which has either been boiled or disinfected before eating and after toilet use.


• Do not allow children to play in floodwater. They can be exposed to water contaminated with fecal matter.


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• Do not allow children to play with toys that have been in floodwater until the toys have been disinfected. Use 1/4 cup of bleach in one gallon of water to disinfect toys and other items.


• If you have open cuts or sores exposed to the floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and disinfected or boiled then cooled water. Apply antibiotic cream to reduce the risk of infection. If a wound or sore develops redness, swelling or drainage, see a physician.


• After helping in cleanup activities and after handling items contaminated by floodwater or sewage, wash hands with soap and water.


The latest testing on salt water beaches will be updated on DOH’s website http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/beach-water-quality/index.html. For fresh water beaches, contact the Environmental Health Section of the DOH-Palm Beach where the fresh water beach is located for information about fresh water beaches. A list of county health department websites can be found here:


http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/county-health-departments/find-a-county-health-department/index.html


Cstapleton@pbpost.com


@StapletonPBP