From the start, here’s a safety point: Handling sewage cleanup yourself can expose you and others to potentially deadly microorganisms. No kidding. So make sure you wear protective outer wear (available in hardware stores) and decontaminate yourself and any tools you use in the sewage cleanup process with antimicrobial products that can kill such dangerous bugs as:
- Leptospirosis, a disease caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. Symptoms can include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea or a rash. Left untreated, Leptospirosis will cause kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress and sometimes death.
- Hepatitis A, a liver disease caused by the virus Hepatitis A. Symptoms include jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and fever.
- Typhoid Fever, a disease caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi, which lives only in the bloodstream and intestinal tract of humans. Symptoms include a sustained fever as high as 104ºF, weakness, cough, stomach pains, headache and loss of appetite. Some patients have a rash of flat, rose-colored spots. Of those not treated, 20 percent will die.
Sewage Cleanup Exposes You to Parasites
Viruses and bacteria aren’t the only dangers lurking in the filth of sewage cleanup emergencies. A host of parasites are routinely found in sewage across large geographic areas. Many of these parasites can cause serious health issues, especially for people with weakened immune systems. Some ugly little organisms found in untreated sewage include:
- Protozoans, microscopic parasites that are present in sewage and can cause cysts and other potentially disfiguring or even deadly health risks.
- Cryptosporidium parvum, which causes Cryptosporidiosis, a gastrointestinal infection similar to dysentery. The microscopic parasite has a hard shell that helps it resist chemicals such as chlorine.
- Giardia intestinalis, a microscopic parasite that causes dysentery like symptoms. Giardiasis, the resulting infection can cause severe illness, even in healthy adults. This parasite also has a shell that protects it from many disinfectants.
Sewage Cleanup Exposes Others to Risks
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when you undertake a sewage cleanup job is that you can carry pathogens from the cleanup site to other parts of the property, exposing people to a broad array of health risks from bacteria, viruses and parasites. If you consider that people who are very young, very old or who have compromised immune systems could face grim health risks from sewage exposure of any kind, it makes taking precautions a no-brainer. And remember, Abbotts has the people, know-how and equipment to safely, effectively and quickly handle any sewage cleanup job. Call Abbotts and breathe easier.
OSHA Flood Cleanup Guide
IICRC Water Damage Info
Sewage Disease Info
Red Cross Flood Cleanup Safety Info