The incidence of insect and dog bites can increase up to 50 percent after a hurricane.
During and after a storm, most animals become disoriented and sometimes displaced. So wild animals, as well as stray
domestic animals, can pose a danger. Keeping these tips in mind will help you if you or your family encounter a
Stay a safe distance away from all unfamiliar animals, even if they seem friendly.
Do not corner an animal. If an animal needs to be removed, call your local animal control authorities. Do not
try to catch it yourself.
If you are bitten by an animal, try to keep track of it. Call your county's
public health department to tell them what happened and describe the animal. Wash out wounds with soap and
water, then go see your doctor immediately. The doctor will let you know if you need to take rabies shots to
keep from getting the disease. For more information about rabies, see our rabies website.
Don't leave garbage or pet food outside. It will attract wild and stray animals. Rats may also be a problem
during and after a hurricane. If you must put garbage outside, be sure it is put in sturdy, metal cans with
tight fitting lids.
Remove any animal carcasses in the area by contacting your local animal control authorities.
You need to be on the watch for snakes after heavy rains and flooding since they will seek drier ground. If you are
bitten by a snake:
Try first to identify the snake or remember markings so that if it is poisonous, the correct anti-venom can be
Do not cut the wound or attempt to suck the venom out.
Remain as immobile as possible and contact a doctor or hospital.
Mosquitoes and Other Insects
Heavy rain and flooding can lead to an increase in mosquitoes. Public health agencies will be actively monitoring any
threat they may represent for spreading communicable diseases while local and state authorities will be working to
control the population of mosquitoes. But largely you will find mosquitoes and other insects that appear in the
aftermath of a storm to just be pests, and there are steps you can take to protect yourself from their bites and
Wear long sleeves and pants. Wear light colors instead
of dark colors.
Use insect repellents. Repellents that contain DEET are effective, but be sure to read the instructions and take
special care with children.
Drain all standing water in open containers, kiddie pools, tires, gutters, etc. around your house.
Don't wear perfume or other scented products.
Keep an eye on your pets. Short haired animals can carry mosquitoes into the house.
Don't make unnecessary trips in and out of the house.
Use screens on windows.
If a sting or bite is serious, or you have a reaction, immediately contact a doctor or hospital.