Cleaning Up The Beach And Other Outdoor Debris After Heavy Rainfall

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Submitted by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health

After a severe storm, there is often debris along the shore that will need to be removed. Cleanup efforts are important for the environment and to restore the beach to an enjoyable place for healthy and recreational activities for you and your family.

When cleaning up debris from the beach and other outdoor locations, here are some safety tips:

  • Keep small children and pets away from debris-strewn areas. People with immune system problems should not attempt to clear debris.
  • It is best to avoid cleanup activities if you have open cuts or scrapes on your skin. However, if that is not possible, clean and cover up cuts, scrapes and sores before starting the activity.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, heavy tear-resistant gloves, sturdy closed-toe waterproof shoes or boots, and insect repellent. Goggles or eye protection may also be necessary.
  • Do not touch dead or injured marine animals with your bare hands.
  • Maintain proper hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap and warm, clean water. If soap and clean water are unavailable, use hand sanitizer. Always wash your hands before handling food or eating.
  • Shower your body immediately after exposure to floodwaters.
  • Thoroughly wash clothing when coming in from a debris cleanup. Wash the soiled clothes separately from the other laundry.
  • Tetanus bacteria can infect humans by entering the body through cuts or puncture wounds. If you attempt clearing heavy debris, consider when you were last vaccinated against tetanus. Tetanus vaccination needs to be renewed every 10 years. For wound management, the vaccine is given if more than five years have passed since the last tetanus shot.
  • If you get a wound, first wash your hands. Next stop the bleeding and thoroughly clean the wound. Then apply an antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly. Cover the wound. If there is unusual redness, swelling or drainage, seek medical attention immediately.

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