New York’s Medically-Vulnerable

While Hurricane Sandy might be over, its after-effects are still being felt by those who are medically vulnerable in the region. Herewith are some of the health risks those in the New York and New Jersey areas may expect to encounter: exposure to carbon monoxide; injuries and infections resulting from floodwaters (this includes bacterial; electrical; eye and hand injuries).  Mold is still a concern as that could develop once one’s home is exposed to standing water for a long period of time.  It is thus important to immediately dry and remove water-damaged items to further prevent mold.

People are also at risk of hypothermia, so it is crucial to find ways to stay warm when there is no electricity.  One way of doing so is by dressing in layers as this makes a great personal insulator.  Body temperature can be maintained by drinking hot, sweetened drinks.  The good news is that according to New York City’s Health Department, tap water is safe for drinking in those areas that did not encounter flooding.  Often, sewage overflows do not affect the city’s water supplies, but each case needs to be examined individually.  Generally common sense is advised; once one notices or smells something strange about the water, it should not be consumed.

When it comes to food, food safety rules must be followed.  If it wasn’t properly refrigerated or encountered any exposure to floodwater, it should be exposed of.  Any food items touched by sewage water should also be dumped. 

It should also be remembered that all chronic diseases – especially diabetes and high blood pressure – are likely to be exacerbated in the wake of the hurricane. Extra care thus needs to be taken.