Panama City, Fla. –The City of Panama City is reporting releases of raw sewage from several locations that started on September 15. This is due to flooding from Hurricane Sally. Amounts are unknown currently. Bodies of water affected include; Watson Bayou, Robinson Bayou and portions of St. Andrews Bay.
The Florida Department of Health in Bay County (DOH-Bay) advises against swimming in Panama City in Watson Bayou, Robinson Bayou and St. Andrews Bay from a half mile east and west of Grant Avenue until further notice. The City of Panama City will test the water and share results with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Bay County Health Department. Once levels are safe, the advisory will be lifted.
Sewage contamination of water can expose swimmers to intestinal viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Swimming in the water may cause symptoms like food poisoning with vomiting and diarrhea. Infection is possible in open cuts and wounds that come in contact with the water.
DOH-Bay recommends the following precautions to help prevent illness from flood waters:
- Basic hygiene is critical. Wash your hands with soap and water, especially before preparing or eating food, after toilet use, after changing a soiled diaper, after participating in flood cleanup activities and after handling articles contaminated with flood water or sewage.
- Avoid eating or drinking anything that has been contaminated with flood waters.
- Do not wade through standing water. If you do, wash your body and put on clean clothes.
- Avoid contact with flood waters, especially if you have open cuts or sores.
- If you have any open cuts or sores and come in contact with flood waters, wash the area well with soap to prevent infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.
- Residents who sustain lacerations and/or puncture wounds and have not had a tetanus vaccination within the past five years will need a tetanus booster.
For more information, contact the DOH-Bay’s Environmental Health at 850-481-4806 or visit Bay.FloridaHealth.gov.