Peak hurricane season in the Gulf Coast is upon us. Although the season runs from June 1 through November 30 every year, the highest activity happens August through November. While the perils of tornadoes may be more immediately obvious, what exactly can hurricanes do to us? What are some types of injuries that hurricanes cause?
What the are types of injuries that hurricanes cause?
A lot of things can happen during a hurricane, like injuries from flying objects, or car accidents as folks evacuate. But many of the risks and injuries that hurricanes cause involve water.
#1. Water-borne infections: Hurricanes cause floods that ultimately become contaminated by sewage and toxic chemicals, which can lead to many adverse health effects, including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders. E.Coli, shigella, salmonella, norovirus, and hepatitis A are just some of the common contaminants in dirty water.
#2. Wound infections: Not only are you at risk for getting wounded in flood waters because of sharp objects that you might not be able to see, but dirty water can also infect any existing wounds. As bacteria grows in the wound and it remains untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body and lead to complications like sepsis, cellulitis, necrotizing fasciitis, and osteomyelitis.
#3. Mosquito-borne infections: Hurricanes typically leave behind areas of stagnant water where mosquitoes breed. Not only are pregnant women vulnerable to Zika, the general public can potentially be exposed to West Nile disease, which has been increasing in certain areas.
#4. Hypothermia: Hypothermia is often caused by exposure to cold weather or immersion in a cold body of water. Especially during the colder hurricane months, like October and November, people become more at risk for hypothermia when they have to walk through hurricane waters or become stuck in the cold weather with no heat.
#5 Other Injuries: Other common injuries that result from hurricanes often include orthopedic injuries, cuts, and wounds from fallen trees.
What can I do to better prepare for hurricanes?
To reduce your risk of injury, remain indoors and stay away from windows. Bring everyone in your house into a safe room. Wait until the storm passes to go outside. If you need to evacuate, try to leave before the hurricane nears your area. If you must leave your home during or right after a hurricane, avoid low-lying areas and stay away from any damaged power lines.
Prep List for Hurricanes:
#1. Learn all evacuation routes ahead of time. If you live in Galveston or are visiting during hurricane season, check out h-gac.com ahead of time to find the best evacuation route in the event of a hurricane.
#2. Get your home ready. Install storm shutters or board up your windows with plywood before hurricane season hits. Fasten any outdoor objects to keep them from damaging your home or injuring someone.
#3. Stock up on water and non-perishable foods. Have at least one gallon of water per person per day on hand for drinking, cleaning, and sanitizing. You’ll need extra water for pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, sick family members, and during warmer months to prevent dehydration. Stock up on foods that won’t require refrigeration like canned goods, protein bars, and boxed foods that require minimal preparation.
#4. Stock up on first aid and other supplies. Chances are you’ll lose electricity, so items like flashlights, batteries, and matches will come in handy. Here’s a list of some other important items to have on hand:
- A first aid kit
- Prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications like antacids, aspirin, advil, laxatives, and anti-diarrhea meds
- Flashlights and plenty of batteries
- Extra fuel for evacuation. Remember evacuation traffic may cause you to burn a lot of fuel.
- Fire extinguisher
- Battery-operated radio
- Sanitation items like toilet paper, soap, and feminine supplies
- Clothing like rain gear, boots, and gloves