13 February 2018

With the heavy rain in much of the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts, the local Medical Officer of Health would like to remind the public of the standard public health advice to always avoid swimming in streams, rivers and beaches for 48 hours after heavy rain.

“After heavy rain there is likely to be contamination from rural and urban run-off” says Dr Neil de Wet, Medical Officer of Health for Toi Te Ora Public Health. “To avoid illnesses such as diarrhoea, vomiting, skin infections or ear infections, it’s best to avoid swimming in rivers, streams, beaches and harbour areas for at least 48 hours after heavy rainfall events,” says Dr de Wet.

In some areas, especially in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, there has been surface flooding.  Dr de Wet advises residents to avoid contact with surface flood water as it may be contaminated with farm run off or possibly septic tank and sewage overflows.  “It is especially important to ensure children don’t play in or swim in surface flood water as it can contain hidden hazards as well as causing illnesses,” says Dr de Wet.

For general public health advice related to flooding visit www.toiteora.govt.nz/flooding