BEWARE: Swimmers brave muddy water at Alex.
BEWARE: Swimmers brave muddy water at Alex.

GP warns to stay out of flooded waterways or risk Hep A

AS THE Sunshine Coast recuperates from the weekend of wild weather, health experts have warned residents to steer clear of waterways until they've settled.

Nambour GP and Australian Medical Association Queensland representative Dr Wayne Herdy warned of the dangers of venturing into contaminated waters after such a heavy rain period.

"As the rain flushes down all of the animal droppings, particularly cow droppings... they can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, skin infections and even lung infections," Dr Herdy said.

"Agricultural chemicals can wash down too, increasing the amount of fertiliser in the water, which can be toxic and lead to algal blooms."

Dr Herdy warned against letting children play in flooded paddocks, as well as canals and beaches flushed with sediment, as there were plenty of other associated serious health risks.

The GP said hepatitis A could be present, as a result of sewage spills from septic tanks and effluent being flushed into waterways.

"The prolonged dry spell allowed all the toxins to accumulate and they've been washed out a lot harder after this rain," Dr Herdy said.

As well as canals and other inland waterways, beaches can also pose a health risk at the moment, with toxins present in large numbers, and sea foam, while looking appealing, also hide potential threats, including sea snakes in some areas.

A Sunshine Coast Council spokesman backed up Dr Herdy's calls to keep out until the water cleared as there was also the risk of loose debris lying below the surface creating problems for recreational waterway users.

"Council encourages residents to be aware of hazards in the ocean and our waterways, including canals, at all times," the spokesman said.

"These hazards, such as poor water quality, marine creatures and debris are obviously exacerbated after high rainfalls.

"For your own safety, stay out of the water until conditions improve."

Meanwhile Coast water service provider Seqwater encouraged locals to keep an eye on its website for latest updates on the status of local dams for recreational users and any treatment facilities affected by ex-tropical cyclone Marcia.


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