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Hurricane Harvey and Potential Health Concerns

With already 50+ inches of water on the ground Hurricane Harvey is bound to be one of the worst weather disasters in United States history. Seventy people have died, 6,000 have been rescued, and over 30,000 are packed into convention centers which are maxed to capacity. Unfortunately, the damage is far from over. Rain is scheduled in the forecast through  early September with no where to go. Levees and dams in eastern Texas are struggling to contain massive amounts of water and local residents have been instructed to evacuate.

Assuming your neighborhood has not been evacuated it is best to stay indoors avoiding the deep waters. If your unsure, its best to go to one of the many shelters that are dispersed from south east to central Texas. Though the claim from the media that these shelters have been maxed out, over 90% are still ready and able to handle more occupants.  Over there you will be given the basic essentials such as food, clothing, and shelter.

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What are the health risks that come with historic storm Harvey?

With major flooding health officials are warning about an increased risk of illnesses and exposure to hazards such as medical waste.  When local residents sink their feet into knee deep waters it is unknown of what they are exposing the body to. Besides for the major risk of drowning there are risks to bacterial diseases, carbon monoxide poisoning, mosquito-borne illnesses, viral infections and other hazards.

  • Bacterial Disease: For many of the city’s residents, contact with floodwater is unavoidable, putting them at risk for diarrhea-causing bacterial infections. With many in shelters the close contact could be extremely harmful especially with the young and old
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:  Any room in a building can harbour a CO emitting appliance in flooding; wood burners and rarely used chimney flues may become particularly problematic. When entering a home in a flood be sure to be equipped with a battery powered carbon monoxide detector.
  • Mosquito-Borne Illnesses: Settling waters are breeding spots for mosquito which makes it easy to lay eggs and hatch larva.  The CDC defines mosquito diseases that are spread to people include: Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue, and malaria.
  • Viral Infections: The WHO gives the risk of two disease types: One includes, water-borne diseases, such as typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis and hepatitis A. The others are classified as Vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, and West Nile Fever.
  • Other Hazards: There is always the classic hazards which come with a flood such as flash & river flooding, burn scars/debris flows,dry wash, and dam breaks/levee failure. In addition, when a medical facility is flooded there are risks for coming in contact with medical waste which lacks proper disposal. If one sees floating medical waste he should alert local authorities which will handle the material. Remember, never touch any used syringe, or material that has come in contact with bodily fluids.

With the fourth largest city in the United States under water, Houston needs your financial support. With your donation you can make the difference and expedite getting a family back in a safe home. MedAssure Service’s provides you with a direct link so you could give to the people of Texas.

       Let the Lone Star State Be Alone No More!                            

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