Doctors urge people to keep children, pets out of water

Doctors urge people to keep children, pets out of water

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - As the Waccamaw River sits at its all time high of 17.9 feet, areas already flooded won't see a drop for several days.  In some areas the water is moving, and in others, it's at a standstill. Either way, pests are lurking in those waters.

Plant pests like poison ivy and bugs are becoming abundant with more water around and appropriate temperatures.  However, many adult mosquitoes were wiped out by the hurricane, but standing water is leaving the breeding ground for more mosquitoes.

Dr. Dennis Rhoades with Doctors Care said he's seen an increase in patients suffering from poison ivy since Hurricane Matthew hit.  He's also said he's heard numerous complaints of snake bites on dogs.

"We've had reports of pets getting bitten by snakes.  Because the snakes again, have been flushed out of their natural habitat with the flood.  So, you know, common sense things.  Definitely don't walk around with out shoes and socks on, flip flops are definitely not the thing you need to be wearing in a flood-prone area because you don't know what you're going to come in to contact with," Dr. Rhoades said.

Other pests include bacteria.  Parents with children in Horry County Schools told a WMBF News reporter that there was an increase in children suffering from the stomach bug during the month following the October 2015 floods.  They also said doctors couldn't verify it, but said the bacteria in the water caused an increase in the stomach bug.

Dr. Rhoades agrees.  "It may not be in the water right now.  They may be out playing and they may be picking up and tossing rocks in to the river.  Well, is the river up over those rocks two days before? You know, it's one of those things just because it's not in the river or wet at the time, was it wet?"

He said to not let children play around or in the water.  Also, to keep pets out.

The Waccamaw Riverkeepers said there's no telling what's floating down the waterways now.  Flooding increases the amount of debris, waste and trash in the water.  One riverkeeper said her friend had a bag of hospital waste full of used needles wash in her yard.

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