The devastating floods in Oneida happened just a little over a week ago, but now, as the flood victims continue to clean up, health is becoming a factor, and officials are hoping people will be safe as they assess the damage.
Hundreds went to the Armory in Oneida for Tetanus shots on Monday afternoon, trying to avoid an infection not only after, but before heading into the once-flooded area as well, which is why Oneida native Jim Coulthart got his shot today.
"You're talking about any type of water-borne and weather related diseases that can happen," he says. "So I figure it's just best that anybody who is going to be working around there not cause problems for yourself further down the road."
Health officials warn that any exposed skin, or any cuts someone might have encountered during the flood might be at risk, so they're urging people to get those shots. In addition to the shots, they stress people wear gloves, boots and even masks when cleaning up, something Rosa Torres, who was cleaning out today, takes seriously.
"I don't want to be sick," she says. "I don't want any of these kids to get sick, you have to because you don't know what's in this water, it's so nasty it smells and everything."
After speaking to some residents, they say the smell ranged anywhere between gasoline, sewage and dead fish. They say the smell has eased in the past few days, but the piles of debris on the street corners still pack a punch if they get close enough.
Other than the smell, in the midst of working, people are exposing themselves to possible mold, something Madison County Director of Public Health Eric Faisst says can be prevented.
"Obviously there's a lot of concern, their house has been flooded, and the water... the potential for mold is one thing, so the key there is to try and eliminate the moisture and water as quickly as possible," he says.
More information on electricity issues, mental health and what items are safe to keep is available at the Madison County Department of Health website at www.healthymadisoncounty.org