Hurricane Harvey has affected heavily the state of Texas in the United States. Over 30,000 people from the city of Houston and nearby town were or will be evacuated due to the flood. Another important factor to consider is the health situation. Floods not only bring destruction, but also health alerts.
Possible health alerts after the flood
The catastrophic flood which has claimed so far 16 fatal victims brings even more dangers.
Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine explains that the health risks are of two types: short-termed and log-termed.
Short term health treats
One of the short-term health risks are floodwater injuries. 75% of the fatalities are due to drowning considering that the flood water has the force to sweep cars and trees. Rushing water is dangerous and sweeps away anything on its path. Some people do not understand the imminent risk flood water represents and sometimes refuse to evacuate.
Another short-term risk is the presence of more wild animals such as snakes. Apart from wild animals, infectious diseases are also present due to the flooding of sewage systems.
Access to needed medicine such as insulin or other drugs is also a short term issue.
Long term risks
Mosquitoes are insects which stay a long time after the waters recede. After a flood mosquitoes can multiply and spread diseases such as West Nile disease or Zika virus.
Mold is another long term health threat. Once mold gets installed into the walls of the damaged houses, it is very difficult to get rid of it and it also brings respiratory diseases.
A long term risk is also mental health. After Hurricane Katina, those affected reported an increase in depression, suicide thoughts and traumatic stress disorder.