Harris County Public Health prepares for Hurricane Harvey

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HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Harris County Public Health is monitoring Hurricane Harvey and is working with the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management to encourage residents to prepare before and after the storm makes landfall.

HCPH is the primary agency responsible for protecting the public’s health in the event of a widespread public health emergency within Harris County.

“Public health is our priority and we do not want people to gamble with their safety,” said Dr. Umair A. Shair, HCPH executive director. “I am encouraging people to have at least a seven day supply of food, medication and bottled water. Also, be prepared to evacuate, if an order is made by our emergency leaders.”


HCPH encourages residents to include the following in a disaster kit

  • Medical supplies such as hearing aids & extra batteries, syringes, oxygen tanks, first aid kit.
  • Baby supplies: bottles, formula, baby food, diapers and skin care
  • Medications, medical alert tags and medical records.
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Pet supplies: food, water, ID, proof of vaccination, pet carrier

Protect your family. Protect yourself. Avoid floodwaters

Snakes, insects, industrial waste, raw sewage and downed power lines are common in floodwaters.

  • Keep children and pets from playing in flood water.
  • Clean and kill germs from all items touched by floodwaters, including children’s toys.
  • Throw away items that cannot be easily washed and disinfected (such as mattresses, stuffed animals, baby toys, and wood cutting boards) food that may have come in contact with flood waters
  • Wash hands often with soap and clean water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

              (use 1 cup of unscented household bleach in 5 gallons of water)

Avoid illness after floods & storms THROW AWAY any food that:

  • Has been in a non-running refrigerator for 4 hours or more.
  • Has an unusual odor, color, or texture.
  • May have come in contact with flood or storm water.
  • Has been at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Canned foods that are bulging, opened, or damaged.


  • Use contaminated water to drink, make baby formula, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, brush your teeth, wash dishes, or make ice.
  • Feed spoiled food to your pets as they can get sick, too.

HCPH will provide additional health and wellness information in the following days. In the meantime, follow the agency on Facebook @HarrisCountyPublicHealth and Twitter @HCPHTX for live updates.

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