Good advice about health and hygene

Cheltenham Borough Council is advising residents affected by flooding to take precautions to protect their health.


Floodwater is likely to be contaminated with harmful bacteria and other chemical hazards such as oil, diesel and petrol. Health risks can be minimised by taking general hygiene precautions and by the use of protective clothing (waterproof boots and gloves) whilst cleaning up.

You should also always wash your hands with soap and clean water:

  • after you go to the toilet
  • when you eat or prepare food
  • after being in contact with flood water, sewage or items that have been contaminated by flood water
  • after participating in flood cleanup activities

Don’t allow children to play in floodwater areas and wash children’s hands frequently (always before meals). Wash floodwater contaminated toys with hot water and disinfectant before allowing them to be used again.

Drinking water may be contaminated. Affected residents should follow advice from Severn Trent Water regarding the safety of their water supply. If in doubt boil all water intended for drinking or use bottled water. Please take care when carrying boiling water.

If you or anyone in your family gets symptoms such as sickness, diarrhoea, or tummy cramps, speak with your GP, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or visit the NHS Direct website for advice.

The following public health advice has been issued by Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust:

Bowsers tank water is drinking quality water when the tanker first arrives at site.

When collecting bowser water collect it in a safe clean container that has been cleaned out beforehand and stored safely to prevent any contamination.

Wherever possible, as a precautionary measure, bowser water should be boiled before use. Please use bowser water as sparingly as possible.

Please be a good neighbour and check on the elderly and vulnerable to make sure they have access to bowser water or bottled water supplies.

Ensure that you drink enough water to keep hydrated. Either drink the bottled water provided or drink boiled bowser water.

Boiled bowser water is the best option for bottle-fed babies; bottled water can be used as an alternative. It is important to keep babies hydrated, so as a third option, unboiled bowser water can be used.

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2 Responses to “Good advice about health and hygene”


  1. 1 Matt 25 July 2007 at 11:45 am

    Well i have been wondering today how we are expected to have a wash, some of us work and need a wash daily. 5/6 bottles is not sufficant per day to see the washing up,, body washing and clothes washed. i know i need a wash now and its getting quite smelly at work too

  2. 2 Fiona 25 July 2007 at 1:16 pm

    What about traveling to an non affected area (Dursley/Bristol/Worcester etc) and go and have a shower at a swimming baths/leisure centre? At least that way we won’t all end up too smelly. Car share and take your mates too!


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