Hurricane Harvey hit Texas hard, leaving a huge trail of destruction behind. As the waters are now slowly receding around Houston and various other cities hit by the flooding, numerous problems are starting to emerge, with health officials warning that the worst is yet to come.
When the hurricane hit, the immediate concerns were injuries, drownings and accidents such as monoxide poisoning. Yet, the big shift is now right around the corner, as long-term health issues due to flooding are here to stay and they’ll last for weeks or months. One of the major dangers with regard to flooding is represented by the germs and bacteria thriving in the water, but intestinal and respiratory illness are exacerbated by large numbers of people living in close quarters, i.e. folks who were displaced by the flooding and they’re now living together in improvised shelters. It’s hard to be hygienic in this situation, not to mention the huge number of people suffering from chronic disease like diabetes, lung problems or heart disease as they were forced to leave their prescriptions behind as they were evacuated.
Skin infections are another issue, i.e. an ongoing concern, not to mention people who were exposed to chemicals and solvents in the flood-water. As the water recedes slowly, the toxic substances will “stay behind” a long time after things dry out. As we get into September, Zika and West Nile viruses are likely to become a problem, as mosquitoes and their larvae love this type of environment.
Mold will most likely affect the vast majority of structures still standing after Harvey, and mold is extremely dangerous for people with asthma and healthy people alike, as it gets inhaled and passes into the lungs and nasal passageways. The potential health problems alone are immense, not to mention the logistical nightmare presented by the more than 100,000 homes damaged by the hurricane. Fortunately, the administration is moving quick to mitigate the effects of the disaster and the Congress is taking steps for approving an initial round of emergency funds to help with relief efforts.
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