Home | Non-food | Environment | Gulf Oil Spill 2010: Protecting Yourself After a Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf Oil Spill 2010: Protecting Yourself After a Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico

Hurricanes and tropical storms can present a number of hazards for residents of coastal communities and response workers. The 2010 hurricane season brings concerns about protecting residents and workers in impacted areas from exposure to contaminated waters as a result of the Deepwater Horizon fire, explosion and the continuing oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. For steps to protect workers and volunteers responding on-shore to hurricanes from the Gulf of Mexico, seehttp://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/oilspillresponse/hurricanes.html.

Below are some tips for families and communities who are concerned that they, their pets, or their property may come in contact with dirty water, oil, or sludge after a hurricane or tropical storm.

Health protection for families:

  • After a storm, dirty water can make you and your family sick.
  • You should avoid skin contact with dirty water.
  • If skin contact does occur, wash your skin with soap and clean water.
  • You can remove oil or tar from your skin with baby oil or suntan lotion.
  • Do not use gasoline, chemicals, or industrial cleaners to clean your skin or the skin of your children or pets.
  • Wash your hands often, especially before preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet, and after clean-up activities.


Health protection related to pets or other animals:

  • Animals and pets may be scared and stressed after a natural disaster.
  • Scared and stressed animals may be more likely to bite or scratch you.
  • Do not approach animals that are not familiar to you and be careful around animals that you know.
  • Remain still if an unfamiliar animal comes toward you.

Do not:

  • Make direct eye contact with an unfamiliar animal
  • Disturb an animal that is sleeping, eating, or caring for its babies
  • Allow children to play with unfamiliar animals without the owner’s permission and adult supervision

Pets may be poisoned by harmful chemicals, products, or foods

  • To learn more, call CDC at 800-CDC-INFO.

For information on how to protect your pets from poisoning, visit the Animal Poison Control Center’s Web site (http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/).

If you think your pet has been poisoned, please call the Animal Poison Control Center toll-free: 1-888-426-4435 (calls are answered 24 hours a day, every day).

You can also consult the International Bird Rescue Research Center Website athttp://www.ibrrc.org/index.html.


Health protection related to personal property or contaminated areas.

  • You should avoid direct exposure to oil or sludge as much as possible.
  • Children and pregnant women should not be allowed to play in or around contaminated areas until they have been cleaned.
from cdc.gov