(NBC News) — Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has declared public health emergencies in both Texas and Louisiana, and many shelters are setting up makeshift mini-hospitals to address the growing health needs of hurricane victims.
“When people come in, if they need medical help, we take them back,” says Katie Bowen, a nurse at Texas Children’s Hospital currently providing care to evacuees at the Convention Center in Houston.
Some needs are immediate. Get them dry, get them warm.
Next, get them medications they need daily, but left at home.
A team of healthcare personnel has set up a pharmacy at the convention center to provide at least a few days of support.
Different health concerns arise as floodwaters recede.
Public health officials remind residents to dump water left in flower pots and drains.
“You don’t want standing water because guess what? We’ve got that risk for mosquitoes,” warns Dr. Umair Shah.
Mosquitoes can carry illnesses like the Zika virus.
Once people get past survival mode they’re at risk for severe anxiety and depression.
“It suddenly comes crashing to you that you’ve lost almost everything, and for some people, obviously, everything. That is really, really difficult to deal with,” says Dr. Gabe Kelen of the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response.
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