Hurricane Diseases - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/31/05

Hurricane Diseases

In the wake of hurricane Katrina, we've seen rescue workers moving and treating the sick and injured, but other health officials are just as busy trying to warn the public about a wide range of health risks they face as they cope with heat and floodwaters without running water or electricity.

"Everything from insect bites to snake bites to scratches that get infected to contaminated water and food," says Richard Carmona M.D. and a U.S. Surgeon General.

Dr. Carmona says people with chronic health conditions are of course at highest risk especially those who depend on medicine like heart patients or diabetics. Also, dehydration and illnesses linked to food and water contamination like Cholera and Typhoid fever, things you don't worry about in the United States . Anymore until now, even something as common as diarrhea can have devastating effects particularly if it spreads to those who are already ill or weak. Other concerns include asphyxiation deaths from gas-powered generators, electrocution and falls.

The Centers for Disease Control says all those are major concerns during the recovery process, and rescue workers are alerted to watch for mental health issues as a top priority as well, because studies show depression and the risk of suicide increase after major disasters like this.

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