CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Hurricane Guidance

PUBLISHED: Sep 18, 2017
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Behavioral Health, Clinical Lab, Community Mental Health Centers, Critical Access Hospitals, Dialysis Facilities, Home Health, Hospice, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Medical Office/Clinic, Pharmacies

Many areas in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and the U.S. territories affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma are still experiencing disruptions in essential services, including electricity, potable water, food, and communications. Numerous health care and public health systems sustained damage. Environmental health impacts from the hurricanes included effects on industries, chemical plants, and hazardous waste sites. Many displaced persons remain in shelters or other temporary housing.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have guidance and technical materials available in both English and Spanish to help protect the health and safety of the public, responders, and clean-up workers during response and recovery operations from hurricanes and floods.

Guidance specifically designed for health care professionals include:

· Medical care of ill disaster evacuees: additional diagnosis to consider

· Medical management and patient advisement after a disaster

· Clinical guidance for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning after a disaster

· Safety information for health care professionals

Health care providers are reminded that many injuries and illnesses from hurricanes and floods occur during the response and recovery phases. Common hazards include vehicle- and nonvehicle-related drowning, carbon monoxide poisoning (e.g., from any gasoline-powered engine, including generators and clean-up equipment), electrocution, falls, lacerations, and exposure to mold and industrial and household chemicals. In addition, exacerbation of existing chronic conditions and development of acute mental health symptoms are frequent reasons for seeking health care services following a disaster .

CDC and ATSDR offer a disaster response clinical consultation service to assist health care providers, public health professionals, and emergency response partners. This service can be accessed by emailing CDC IMS Clinical Inquiries at eocevent168@cdc.gov.

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