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'I Was Deathly Ill For A Day' Toxic Harvey Floodwaters Infect Volunteers

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Some volunteer rescuers returning to North Texas from the Houston-area hard hit by Hurricane Harvey paid a price for their service -- skin infections, severe cuts, fevers, diarrhea and nausea.

"I was deathly ill for a good day after I got back home and went to two different ERs," one volunteer told CBS11.

Sacrificing time and money to help others, volunteers waded through dirty floodwater for days in South Texas. Health experts agree that while lakes and ponds contain germs and bacteria, it doesn't compare with toxins found in Harvey's floodwaters.

Volunteer rescuers Jordan Timms, Ashley Walker and Chris Bracken have experienced what experts mean first hand. All three spent a week in the streets of Beaumont and Port Arthur, which saw some of the worst flooding from the massive storm.

Epic Flooding Inundates Houston After Hurricane Harvey
PORT ARTHUR, TX - AUGUST 30: Volunteer rescuer workers help a woman from her home that was inundated with the flooding of Hurricane Harvey on August 30, 2017 in Port Arthur, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

"We were in the chest deep water for about eight hours so you can just imagine what was in there," said Walker.

The trio was a part of teams who waded through high water to save horses, cattle and dogs trapped in rural areas where authorities didn't have the manpower to go. Their work was selfless and productive, saving dozens of animals. But the eight hour days in floodwaters caused irritating skin rashes,digestive problems, as well as infections from cuts exposed to the dirty water.

"I had a fever that night so I went to see a medic... I was just so sick... I made it another day and then we all went home but I'm still kind of recovering and it's not fun," said Timms.

Health experts advised most of the ailments volunteers are experiencing are treatable with antibiotics but can get worse if not treated and are contagious.

Despite their health problems, Timms, Walker and Bracken said they have no regrets and would do it again.

"You don't really think about it," said Bracken. "We were down there to help people and doing what needed to be done."



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