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Health advice during the New Plymouth water shortage

Health advice on how to protect yourself during the water shortage in New Plymouth

Taranaki DHB’s Public Health Unit provides the following health advice to protect you and your whanau during the water shortage in New Plymouth:

Water is essential for health and hygiene and it is important to drink plenty of water especially in hot weather.

If there is no water coming out of your tap:

1. Find an alternative source for drinking such as bottled water from supermarkets or the water from water tankers. Rainwater can be collected by either placing a clean container outside to catch rain or by disconnecting the downpipe from the roof and filling a container.

2. Boil or sterilise all water for one minute before drinking. It is OK to use jugs with an automatic cut-off switch as long as they are full. On no account should the switch be held down to increase boiling time. Alternatively, disinfect with plain, unperfumed household bleach (1/2 teaspoon to 10 litres). Reserve one clean utensil to use as a dipper.

You need about 3 litres of drinking water for each person each day. You need also about 1 litre of water for each of the following:

• washing food and cooking for each meal

• washing dishes after a meal

• washing yourself (1 litre per day for each person).

Unwashed hands can lead to illness

1. Wash your hands well. If water is in very short supply, keep some in a bowl with disinfectant added, but change frequently. It is particularly important to have a bowl close to the toilet for hand washing.

2. Alcohol sanitisers are an alternative for handwashing. Use wet wipes for cleaning dirty areas first.

3. Use a bucket or bowl for washing.

Food safety

• Use treated water to wash vegetables and fruit. (Add five drops of plain, unperfumed household bleach to 1 litre of water and stand for 30 minutes, or boil for one minute.)

• Keep food containers and cooking utensils clean.

• Use disposable paper towels where possible.

For more information on how to protect your health contact a health protection officer at the Taranaki Public Health Unit at free phone 0508 834 274. If anyone is sick or unwell please see a doctor or phone Healthline at 0800 611 116. ENDS

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