Worth County Health Department is offering free tetanus shots to tornado recovery workers through the end of the month. Its environmental health specialists are also offering technical assistance.
“If you are doing clean-up after the recent disasters, you might be exposed to tetanus bacteria in the environment,” said Worth County Health Department Nurse Manager Gina Connell. “Tetanus bacteria are widespread in the environment, and can infiltrate the body through puncture wounds, lacerations, minor abrasions and even splinters.”
If it has been 10 years since your last tetanus shot and you are helping with recovery and clean up, you are eligible for a free shot, said Connell, who noted that insurance will be billed for the vaccine. “If you have been injured in clean-up and haven’t had a tetanus shot in the past 5 years you are at particular risk and should get a shot within 3 days.”
If left untreated, tetanus can be fatal.
In addition, Worth County Health Department Lead Environmentalist Laura Searcy reminded residents who have experienced power outages that, regarding food stored in refrigerators or freezers, “When in doubt, throw it out.”
She said refrigerated food remains safe to consume for four hours without power, while perishables in a freezer remain good for up to 48 hours.
Property-owners are also urged to call the Worth County Environmental Health Services at 229-777-2168 if they are going to need heavy equipment in their yard and would like a sketch showing where their septic system located so it isn’t damaged. “Just give us a call beforehand so hopefully we can save you from additional problems,” Searcy said. “Not everyone knows where their septic tank is located.”
Searcy had other advice as well. “For those cutting trees in the area of their drain field, we recommend leaving the stump, and grinding it,” she said. “If you pull the stump, you run the risk of pulling up drainage lines.”