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Q&A on Tampa water system failure

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Published:   |   Updated: March 4, 2013 at 04:53 PM

Officials issuing a precautionary boil water notice in Tampa are most concerned with people ingesting, or drinking, city tap water. Here are some common questions and answers for dealing with the boil water notice.

How long do I need to boil my water?

Bring water to a rolling boil and keep it boiling for one minute.

Can I brush my teeth? Shower?

Donít use tap water this weekend for brushing teeth, washing fruits and vegetables, or making homemade ice. You can shower, shave and wash with tap water, as long as you donít swallow or get water in the eyes, nose or mouth.

Can my pets drink the water?

Vets from Tampaís BluePearl Veterinary Partners recommend using the same rules for pets as you do for humans. And hold off on baths for a few days, just in case.

Can I wash my clothes?

Yes.

Is there an alternative to boiling for purifying the water?

If you canít boil water, put eight drops (1/8 teaspoon) of unscented household bleach in one gallon of tap water in food grade containers. Shake and let sit for 30 minutes. If water is cloudy, use 16 drops (1/4 teaspoon) to one gallon of water, shake and let stand for 30 minutes. There should be a light chlorine odor.

You can also buy water purification tablets or iodine, which is available at camping supply stores.

Commercial bottled water also is an option.

What are the symptoms that the water is making me sick?

Diarrhea and stomach cramps are common illnesses related to contaminated water.

Who is most at-risk for health complications?

Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems or open wounds should be most concerned.


Sources: Hillsborough County Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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