NEW YORK. Hurricane Harvey’s devastating floods have crippled Houston. Yet, with hurricane season upon us, it is important to understand that many people who live in coastal regions are at risk this late summer and autumn. Even a bad rainstorm can result in flooding. Flooding not only damages homes, limits transportation, and closes down cities, but it also poses a serious risk to human health and safety.
According to LiveScience, besides the obvious risk of drowning in a flood, floods also pose a serious health risk. Standing water can put people at risk of certain diseases. Worse, if people become sick or get injured during a storm, flood waters can make it difficult for individuals to access health services. Individuals who rely on medications or dialysis may face complications if they cannot get access to the medical services they need. Furthermore, if people need to seek shelter due to damaged homes, the presence of so many people in a confined area can also increase the spread of infectious diseases. Standing water can also breed mosquitos, leading to infectious diseases including Zika and West Nile.
The most immediate threat facing Houston residents is the increased drowning risk due to rapidly rising waters. According to CBS News, individuals cannot even rely on their cars for safety if waters rise quickly. Even strong swimmers may face challenges should they find themselves in swiftly moving water with debris. After all, even an Olympic swimmer wouldn’t be able to fight a rip current.
Another major hazard is electrocution. Fallen power lines can be hidden by standing water. If the power hasn’t been cut, individuals put themselves at risk of being seriously hurt if they play in or try to cross the water. Children should not be permitted to play in standing water and individuals should avoid traveling in flooded areas when possible for this reason. Even if the waters look calm, they could be hiding deadly power lines.
In the aftermath of a storm, drinking water can become contaminated. This is why individuals are often urged to stock up on jugs of water before a storm. If you must use tap water after a storm, experts recommend you boil it before use.
Finally, it is important to look after your mental health and the wellbeing of your loved ones. It is not uncommon to see people suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after flooding or a serious natural disaster. If you notice mood changes, have trouble sleeping, experience flashbacks, or find yourself having difficulty returning to normal life activities, you may want to seek medical care.
Antin, Ehrlich, & Epstein, L.L.P. are personal injury lawyers in New York who assist individuals who have been hurt due to the negligence or neglect of another person or party. During flooding, cities may see more car accidents and other injuries due to distraction or neglect. If you believe you have been hurt due to another person’s actions.