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Health risks after Hurricane Matthew

What's Going Around week of October 10, 2016

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's been a rough week for a lot of people out there, ​from preparing  for the storm, evacuating,  riding out the storm at a shelter and then coming home to a lot of damage.

Water seeping into your home and then soaking your furniture can become a health risk when mold begins to form. Dr. Ali Kasraeian says prolonged exposure to wet furniture, structures or even walls means exposure to fungus. Even if it looks like your home may not have suffered much damage, water that has found its way into your walls can take time to dry.

People who are most at risk of mold are those who have chronic lung issues, people with asthma- and emphysema. Diabetics and other people who have a higher risk of getting an infection can be vulnerable to long-term exposure to mold.

In stressful events like a hurricane, cardiac problems can be an issue as well. Dr. Kasraeian says when Hurricane Sandy hit New York, they found that in the two weeks following the storm, there was a 22% increase in heart attacks  and a 7% increase in strokes- all related to stress. If you have an underlying cardiac issue or cardiovascular issue, make sure that you do your best to decrease your level of stress before, during, and after a storm.

When you're out cleaning up the storm debris, don't be afraid to ask for help- especially if you have a cardiac issue. Dr. Kasraeian says those are the times when your heart is at risk and you could increase your chances of having a heart attack.

After the storm, reports show that Zika could be decreased because the rain washed out the mosquito larvae. However, there is a lot of standing water left behind from the storm. Standing water is where mosquitoes breed. It is important to get rid of the standing water as soon as possible.

Also be on the lookout for standing water near areas of sewage which also increases your health risk.