Fact Sheet: Protect Yourself from Animal- and Insect-Related Hazards After a Disaster

Highlights
  • Avoid wild or stray animals.
  • Protect yourself from mosquitoes by using EPA-registeredExternal insect repellents.
  • To avoid attracting rodents, remove potential sources of food, water, and shelter such as garbage, dirty dishes, and debris.
  • Be aware of snakes that may be swimming in the water to get to higher ground and those that may be hiding under debris or other objects.

General

  • Avoid wild or stray animals.
  • Call local authorities to handle animals.
  • Secure all food sources and remove any animal carcasses.
  • Get rid of dead animals, according to guidelines from your local animal control authority, as soon as you can. See Animal Disposal for answers to frequently asked questions.

For guidance on caring for animals entering shelters and for people working with or handling animals following an emergency, see  Interim Guidelines for Animal Health and Control of Disease Transmission in Pet Shelters.

For more information, contact your local animal shelter or services, a veterinarian, or the Humane Society for advice on dealing with pets or stray or wild animals after an emergency. Also see Protect Your Pets in an Emergency.

Prevent Mosquito Bites

Close-Up Image of Mosquito
  • Adult mosquitoes do not generally survive high winds during a hurricane.
  • Immediately following a hurricane, flooding occurs. Mosquito eggs laid in the soil by floodwater mosquitoes during previous floods hatch. This results in very large populations of floodwater mosquitoes. Most of these mosquitoes are considered nuisance mosquitoes.
  • In general, nuisance mosquitoes do not spread viruses that make people sick. The types of mosquitoes that can spread viruses may increase 2 weeks to 2 months after a hurricane, especially in areas that did not flood but received more rainfall than usual.

The best was to prevent infection from diseases spread by mosquitoes is to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Take the following steps to protect yourself and your family:

  • Use EPA-registeredExternal insect repellent
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors

For more information, see our information on how to Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.

Prevent Contact With Rodents

  • Remove food sources, water, and items that can provide shelter for rodents.
  • Wash dishes, pans, and cooking utensils immediately after use.
  • Dispose of garbage and debris as soon as possible.

For more information, see Rodent Control After a Disaster.

Prevent or Respond to a Snake Bite

  • Be aware of snakes that may be swimming in the water to get to higher ground and those that may be hiding under debris or other objects.
  • If you see a snake, back away from it slowly and do not touch it.
  • If you or someone you know are bitten, try to see and remember the color and shape of the snake, which can help with treatment of the snake bite.
  • Keep the bitten person still and calm. This can slow down the spread of venom if the snake is venomous. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Dial 911 or call local Emergency Medical Services. Apply first aid if you cannot get the person to the hospital right away.
    • Lay or sit the person down with the bite below the level of the heart.
    • Tell him/her to stay calm and still.
    • Wash the wound with warm soapy water immediately.
    • Cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.

For more information, see How to Prevent or Respond to a Snake Bite.

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