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Home LATEST NEWS Hurricane Ian caused 'emotional trauma' in addition to physical devastation, doctor says

Hurricane Ian caused ’emotional trauma’ in addition to physical devastation, doctor says

While hurricanes are known for causing rapid and often devastating physical destruction, they can also cause equally severe emotional damage, said Dr. Janette Nesheiwat on Saturday, October 1. 1.

“It’s a traumatizing experience,” Nesheiwat, a board-certified emergency and family physician and Fox News medical contributor, said during a “Fox & Friends Weekend” segment.

“You almost lost your life, or lost all your belongings. It’s a shock to the body.”

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This shock, he explained, can result in unclear decision-making on the part of the victims.

After a storm, he said, “you’re distraught, you’re stressed, you don’t know what to do, you don’t know where to go, and that’s where you make bad decisions.”

Gusts of wind blow over Sarasota Bay as Hurricane Ian moves south on September 28, 2022 in Sarasota, Florida. dr Janette Nesheiwat on Sat, Oct. On January 1, 2022, she said that flood waters are often full of sewage, chemicals, debris, glass, and other hazardous materials.
(Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Nesheiwat added, “That’s when PTSD sets in. That’s when infections start.”

Dirty floodwaters can be another source of problems, Dr. Nesheivat said.

These floodwaters are often teeming with bacteria, which can infect cuts or scrapes on the skin. Infections, if left untreated, can become serious.

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“It’s full of sewage, chemicals, debris, glass, rusty metal and that sort of thing,” he said.

Nesheiwat noted that after Hurricane Katrina, she encountered many patients suffering from ulcers, respiratory problems and other infections that arose after the storm.

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Additionally, Nesheiwat expressed concern about the improper use of generators in the event of a power outage.

If people are not careful, they can be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be deadly.

Students from the University of Central Florida are shown using an inflatable mattress to evacuate an apartment complex near campus that was completely flooded by Hurricane Ian in Orlando, Florida.

Students from the University of Central Florida are shown using an inflatable mattress to evacuate an apartment complex near campus that was completely flooded by Hurricane Ian in Orlando, Florida. “Heed the warnings from local officials,” said Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, a Fox News medical contributor.
(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Nesheiwat returned to the topic of mental health issues during extreme weather events.

“The mental aspect of this, the emotional trauma, is really devastating,” he said, and should be handled with the same concern and attention given to physical health issues, he suggested.

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“Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy said parents who “suppress some of their stress to keep [their] quiet kids” are also under pressure.

Damaged boats lie on land and water after Hurricane Ian in Ft. Myers, Florida The emotional trauma of enduring severe weather like hurricanes is

Damaged ships lie on land and water after Hurricane Ian in Ft. Myers, Florida The emotional trauma of enduring severe weather like hurricanes is “really devastating,” said Dr. Nesheivat.
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Health problems are compounded for medically vulnerable people, especially the elderly, Nesheiwat said.

He advised that these people, before any storm, take extra precautions, like making a “ready to go kit” and making sure medications are packed so they stay dry and undamaged.

These bags should contain identification, money, chargers, a couple of dry clothes, snacks and some water, he said.

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“The best thing you can do is always, before anything else, heed warnings from local officials,” he said.

Those who have elderly or vulnerable neighbors should check on them, he said, and use specially created hotlines for assistance if needed.

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In terms of all those who have reached out to others in this time of need, Dr. Nesheiwat said, “It’s beautiful to see the community coming together, working together, supporting each other.”

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