Swimming in the streets can be a flood water faux pas

WEST FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - "The rain came so fast and hard, you could barely see outside the windows. It was flooded all the way passed the sidewalks," says Abigail Mindeman, a West Fargo resident. "It was almost to my knees."

Sometimes when it rains, it pours - and Tuesday night that's exactly what happened.

"At first, it was so dark and scary with tornado warnings. And after it cleared up, the sun came right out and it got warm," Mindeman says. "We saw a bunch of neighbor kids out there in their rain boots and it was so deep they poured water out of their rain boots."

So Mindeman, along with many others, embraced the wet weather.

"We just went out there barefoot, you got your swimsuit on – and did you get on your floatie?" she says to her four-year-old son.

And while making the most of a rainy day is a gift, what you could pick up from the water itself isn't.

"I'm all for free play and stuff like that – splashing in puddles, that kind of stuff, getting dirty. When it comes to street water – you're not only getting the rain, but you're getting the downfall from another part of the street and you don't know what was down there," says Krisdeanna Clapper, another West Fargo mom. "There could be a used needle, or bandages, liquor, beer cans – I mean, you never know what could be in there."

"We really don't recommend swimming in flood water or retention ponds – anything like that. It's very dangerous in that there can be debris that we don't know is there," says Caitlyn Cameron, a Physician Assistant with Sanford Health. "There's also danger of run-off from fertilizers and waste from homes – think about dog poop that's in your yard. Or even bacteria that can run off of roofs, down driveways and into those systems."

Some of that bacteria includes E.coli, salmonella, and tetanus. There's also a chance you could come in contact with raw sewage if the storm damaged a sewer line.

Cameron says if you did float in the flood water though, soap and clean water can help get you back in the clear.

"Washing out a wound if you get it, definitely not going in if you have a wound already, and then just a good bath or shower with soap and water to get all of that junk off," she says.

It's something Mindeman already did to extend her family's summer fun even after the water receded.

"We came back inside and he took a nice bubble bath so he could go swimming inside," Mindeman says.

If your kids did play in the flood water, health officials say you should keep an eye out for symptoms like fever, chills, vomiting, or diarrhea. If that happens, see a doctor.

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