The victims in the area of Hurricane Florence face a multitude of problems, including many health risks. Mold is a high risk, forming 24-48 hours after flooding. If your house as flooded and unable to be dried immediately ( like in most cases), you would expect a lot of mold to form, according to the CDC. They recommend residents dealing with flooding wear a respirator, shower, and change clothes as soon as possible. Mold can cause irritation of skin and eyes, allergic reactions, and asthma attacks.
If you occupy the area of Hurricane Florence’s wake, it is unlikely you will come out unscathed. Wounds are extremely common, and even a minor one can leave you exposed to wound infections when interacting with the dirty, bacteria-infested flood waters. Ideally to prevent infection, one would use waterproof bandages to wrap the wounded area in as well as washing with soap and clean water. Victims should seek medical attention if they notice redness, swelling, or drainage.
Flooding in farm areas spreads an excess of animal waste through water, which is another way you might contract a wound infection. Farm animals such as hogs produce “millions of gallons of untreated sewage.” Contaminants like these can flow over incredible amounts of land to many people.
Despite how docile they usually seem, mosquitoes can be a huge health risk, especially at times like these. While most adult mosquitoes will not survive the hurricane, it is an opportunity for eggs hidden in the ground from previous floods to hatch, like sleeper agents. They are called nuisance mosquitoes. They, like normal mosquitoes, do not all spread illness, but there are those that do. They will increase in population in the coming weeks. Dumping water out of items like tires and flowerpots, which will often host these mosquitoes, can spread them.
Trench foot occurs when the feet are submerged in water, or even just wet, for a prolonged amount of time. Symptoms include pain, swelling, tingling, numbness, itching, blotchy skin, and coldness in the foot. It could also show signs of dryness and form painful blisters.
Possibly the scariest of threats is carbon monoxide poisoning. Gas/charcoal grills and generators used in the home and in other places build up reserves of carbon monoxide, an infamous, deadly toxin. It can go through walls and easily penetrate sheetrock, according to anesthesiologist Dr. Jake Freiberger, and kill many people at a time. Symptoms include weakness, dizziness, vomiting, chest pain, confusion, and headache; it can even be mistaken for the flu virus.
Dozens of polluted chemical plants, shipyards, industrial sites, and military bases are being flooded. These pollutants are spreading as well, tainting drinking water.
Up to thirty inches of rain water is being reported. Hurricane Florence peaked at a Category 4, then was brought down to a tropical storm. The death toll has been rising in the early twenties, and around 170 patients have been sent to hospitals along with the hundreds upon hundreds that have been rescued.
Hurricane Florence has begun to come to a close, but the damages remain a problem and health risks are very much still in existence. Personnel have been deployed to help the victims out of dangerous areas and procure their health and safety.