How the Gulf oil spill may impact your health - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

How the Gulf oil spill may impact your health

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has some advice for anyone with health issues resulting from the Gulf oil spill.

State Health Office, Dr. Mary Currier, said "we will provide updates on the public health aspects of this situation as it develops."

Is my drinking water safe?

Yes. Drinking water supplies are not expected to be affected

Are petroleum fumes dangerous?

Odor does not pose a medical risk, but certainly can be an irritant for many. Some people are far more sensitive to odors and any changes in air quality and may experience:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches

If you have these symptoms, you should consider staying indoors, ventilating your home with air conditioning and avoiding strenuous outdoor activity. Removing yourself from the odor will generally clear up the symptoms

If these symptoms do not improve, you should then consider contacting your primary care physician or other health care provider for medical advice.

If you have pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or other respiratory illness, you should consider communicating with your physician if you feel symptomatic. If you experience a medical emergency, call 911.

The EPA is currently monitoring coast air quality for changes and possible risks. MSDH will issue appropriate alerts if dangers exist

What if I get oil on me?

  • Avoid direct skin contact with the oil
  • If you get oil on your skin, wash it off with soap and water
  • Wash your hands before eating to avoid accidentally swallowing oil
  • If you get oil on clothing, wash it in the usual way
  • Prolonged exposure to the oil may cause some to have a skin rash
  • There is no need to use harsh detergents, solvents or other chemicals to wash oil from your skin or clothing, and is discouraged

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