While your heart might break at the images of oil-saturated birds and the stories of small fishing-based communities losing everything, there are few other ways the gulf oil spill can affect your health – particularly if you live near the Gulf. For those of you living close to the spill, or who may come in contact with it as it makes its way up the East Coast, the CDC offers a few basic tips:
- Avoid skin contact; if you’re helping with the clean-up - wear gloves, eye, protection, and cover your arms and legs
- If you get oil on your skin, wash with soap, water, baby oil, petroleum jelly, or a cleaning paste you might find at an auto parts store. DO NOT USE solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, or similar products.
- If you get oil in your eyes, flush them with water for 15 minutes.
- If you swallow oil, DO NOT TRY TO VOMIT because you may end up with oil in your lungs.
- If you inhale oil vapors or smoke from burning oil, move to an area with cleaner air. Seek medical attention if you’ve inhaled a substantial amount or if you have trouble breathing or feel dizzy.