Storms, cyclones and flood
Significant cyclonic activity, storms and flooding occur in many areas of Queensland. Queensland Health has developed the following information and advice to ensure Queenslanders stay safe and healthy as we prepare for, and recover from, these natural events.
Stay safe and healthy during cleanup
Following the initial damage to property and infrastructure, flood water that has receded can still cause sickness, injury and death. The main health risks while in storm or flood-affected areas include:
- injury, such as falls, skin lacerations or snake and spider bites
- skin infections and sunburn
- mosquito-borne disease
Learn more about staying safe during the clean-up period:
- Stay safe and healthy during storms, floods and cyclones
- Returning to a disaster-affected house or building
- Dealing with mould after a storm, flood or cyclone
- Visit the Queensland Government asbestos website
- Use of playgrounds and sporting fields during the flood recovery.
Preventing illness from water
During and after storms, cyclones and flooding, drinking water may be contaminated. Your local council will advise if you need to take precautions before drinking water in your area.
If you are concerned that your water may be contaminated, treat it before drinking. Conserve treated water and use it for drinking, preparing food and personal hygiene only.
For more information on safe drinking water, refer to:
Preventing illness from food
When cyclones, storms and floods occur, power failures are likely to happen and the food in your fridge may be unsafe to eat.
Action to take:
- do not open your fridge or freezer door unnecessarily
- refrigerated food will spoil sooner than frozen food, so eat any perishable foods in your fridge first, such as dairy products and meat
- if your power has been cut and you have not kept your freezer stocked with ice, food will start to spoil and should be eaten immediately. What can't be eaten should be thrown out
- throw out any food that has started to spoil, especially if it smells bad, tastes strange or is slimy
- if you are without power, only buy those perishable food items that you need for the same day.
For more information on food safety, read:
Preventing illness from mosquitos and black flies
Receding flood waters and pooling water from heavy rainfall can provide perfect conditions for mosquito breeding. This can result in more mosquitoes, increasing the potential for outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.
For more information on how to prevent illnesses from mosquitoes, read:
Black flies are aggressive biters that are found in areas around streams and rivers. While they do not transmit disease, allergic reactions and bacterial skin infections may occur from scratching the bites. The number of black flies can increase following a flood or heaving rain, particularly in inland areas.
For more information on black flies, read:
During disaster situations, medicines, including drugs and poisons stored in homes, may be affected by flood waters. This may make them unsafe and extreme caution should be taken in trying to salvage any medicines that are potentially flood affected.
It may also be more difficult to access essential medicines due to isolation, financial hardship or lost prescriptions and health care cards.
For more information, read:
Emergency response workers
The main health risks for emergency responders are injury (including falls and snake bites), superficial skin infections, sunburn, heat stress and in the following weeks, mosquito-borne infections.
For more information on staying safe and healthy as an emergency response worker, read:
Coping in a crisis
To find out more about Coping in a crisis.