During and after a storm, most animals become disoriented and sometimes displaced. So wild animals, as well as stray domestic animals, can pose a danger. Keeping these tips in mind will help you if you or your family encounter a strange animal:
- Stay a safe distance away from all unfamiliar animals, even if they seem friendly.
- Do not corner an animal. If an animal needs to be removed, call your local animal control authorities. Do not try to catch it yourself.
- If you are bitten by an animal, try to keep track of it. Call your local DHEC Environmental Affairs office county's public health department to tell them what happened and describe the animal. Wash out wounds with soap and water, then go see your doctor immediately. The doctor will let you know if you need to take rabies shots to keep from getting the disease. For more information about rabies, see our rabies website.
- Don't leave garbage or pet food outside. It will attract wild and stray animals. Rats may also be a problem during and after a hurricane. If you must put garbage outside, be sure it is put in sturdy, metal cans with tight fitting lids.
- Remove any animal carcasses in the area by contacting your local animal control authorities.
You need to be on the watch for snakes after heavy rains and flooding since they will seek drier ground. If you are bitten by a snake:
- Try first to identify the snake or remember markings so that if it is venomous, the correct anti-venom can be given.
- Do not cut the wound or attempt to suck the venom out.
- Remain as immobile as possible and contact a doctor or hospital.
Mosquitoes and Other Insects
Heavy rain and flooding can lead to an increase in mosquitoes. Public health agencies will be actively monitoring any threat they may represent for spreading communicable diseases while local authorities will be working to control the population of mosquitoes. But largely you will find mosquitoes and other insects that appear in the aftermath of a storm to just be pests, and there are steps you can take to protect yourself from their bites and stings:
- Wear long sleeves and pants. Wear light colors instead of dark colors.
- Use insect repellents. Repellents that contain DEET are effective, but be sure to read the instructions and take special care with children.
- Drain all standing water in open containers, kiddie pools, tires, gutters, etc. around your house.
- Don't wear perfume or other scented products.
- Keep an eye on your pets. Short haired animals can carry mosquitoes into the house.
- Don't make unnecessary trips in and out of the house.
- Use screens on windows.
- If a sting or bite is serious, or you have a reaction, immediately contact a doctor or hospital.
See our mosquitoes website for more information.