Health Department Reminds Residents of Health Information Related to Gulf Oil Spill
June 25, 2010
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) urges coastal residents to remember the following important public health information related to the oil spill in the Gulf.
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 accidently 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 their use is discouraged.
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:
- 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, 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, consider communicating with your physician if you feel symptomatic.
- If you experience a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently monitoring coastal air quality for changes and possible risks. MSDH will issue appropriate alerts if dangers occur.
Is my drinking water safe?
- Yes. Drinking water supplies are not expected to be affected.
MSDH has been conducting enhanced surveillance in hospital emergency departments in Mississippi’s coastal counties to determine any health effects possibly related to the oil spill. MSDH is also monitoring calls to the Poison Control Center in Mississippi for oil related complaints or exposures, and is working with the CDC to detect potential oil related health effects from visits to the Department of Defense and VA (Veteran Administration) facilities on the coast. To date, no increase in illnesses that might be attributed to the oil spill has been detected.