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Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico
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Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico


What you should and should not do in
areas affected by the oil spill
Available from the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals
(May 2010)

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The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is advising residents to avoid areas affected by the oil spill. Residents should follow the guidelines below.

  • Avoid direct skin contact with oil, oil spill-affected water and sediments.
  • Do not swim or ski in areas affected by the oil spill, and if you must travel through the area by boat, take precautions when hoisting the boat anchor.
  • Do not fish in the oil spill-affected waters.
  • Do not harvest and eat dead seafood, seafood with oily residue, or seafood that has a petroleum odor.
  • Do not drive your boat through oil slicks or oil sheens.
  • Young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and individuals with underlying respiratory conditions should avoid affected areas.
  • Do not let pets enter oil-affected areas.
  • Do not burn debris, driftwood or other materials contaminated with oil.
  • If oil gets on your clothing, wash separately from the family laundry. You may use your regular detergents.
  • The odor is not a health risk. However, if you experience severe incidents of nausea or respiratory problems seek medical attention.
  • Residents bothered by the odor are advised to stay indoors and run their air conditioner in recirculation mode.

IMPORTANT: If you get oil on your skin, wash it off immediately with soap and water or hand-cleansers meant to remove oils and grease. If you develop a rash, see your doctor and tell them how you came into contact with the oil.

People wishing to help with clean-up, should it be necessary, must be properly trained. Residents are advised that they should not attempt to conduct oil spill response work without the proper training and support from a contractor or volunteer agency certified to be part of the effort. You can go to to find out how to be part of the response effort.