Although it is true that talking about atmospheric phenomena is to refer to social and economic losses, also the health of the population may be vulnerable. And it is that climate change is a factor that affects various diseases.
The specialist in emergency medicine and professor of the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (Intec), Pablo Smester, points out that gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea and asthma, due to abrupt climate change, are the most common conditions for which people go to hospitals during a storm.
Meanwhile, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) indicates that some are caused by infectious diseases that are sensitive to climate. He points to malaria, which is responsible for the death of almost a million people a year, and malnutrition, which claims the lives of 3.5 million. In addition, it includes diarrhea as the cause of 2.2 million deaths per year. To this is added the almost 60,000 people who die as a result of extreme weather events. The Dominican population remembers the heavy rains of November 4, 2022, which caused two deaths.
Displacement puts the health and physical integrity of people at risk when they have to move during atmospheric phenomena. “And more in our country where rivers and ravines overflow with little amount of water and this coming Franklin storm will not be small,” considers Smester. According to reports from the Civil Defense, between 2017 and 2022 there were 79,182 people displaced by storms and hurricanes.
Hygiene is essential for disease prevention. Smester explains that one must be careful when drinking drinking water, that is, be careful that it is not contaminated for food preparation. In addition, he suggests checking the food that is in the fridge before eating it, since it may be damaged by the lack of electricity that usually happens during storms.
He suggests that patients who have asthma complications try to stay dry inside the house, not expose themselves and have their medications available up to date.
Another of the doctor’s recommendations is to have a first aid kit. “The items that cannot be missing are gauze, an elastic bandage and iodine paint for asepsis. Likewise, for burns, you should have ointments, blankets, gloves and glasses for bioprotection, ”he specifies.
Smester points out that “every first aid kit has the right components for the common needs of every human being, but the ability to use what is inside will depend.”