Hurricane Harvey has rained down catastrophe on Houston, Texas and residents are gearing up for an aftermath similar to New Orleans after 2005's Hurricane Katrina. So, what health risks are on the horizon? This and other news in our latest Health News Roundup.
- Catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey increases the risk of ills ranging from skin rashes to bacterial infections and mosquito-borne disease, U.S. public health officials warned on Monday. The most immediate health risk is of course, drowning, but the number one concern is contaminated water. Simply wading in floodwaters could cause skin rashes because so much of the water is contaminated with toxic chemicals that get washed out of people's garages and tool sheds. Carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators is another threat.
Health secretary Tom Price has declared a public health emergency in Texas. Since Harvey first hit, 16 people have died. Access to medical care and prescriptions is limited; frail populations like the elderly, pregnant women, and children are at a higher risk; and the psychological toll of a natural disaster of this magnitude will have inevitable effects on many residents' mental health.
- This article describes five takeaways we learned in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and what it could mean for the health of Houston residents after Hurricane Harvey.
- As we mentioned in a previous blog post, a new anti-inflammation drug has been found to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. While the research is groundbreaking, the price and potential side effects of the drug are also something to consider.
- The FDA is cracking down on "unscrupulous" clinics selling unproven and potentially dangerous treatments involving stem cells. The agency sent a warning letter to the US Stem Cell Clinic of Sunrise, Florida for "marketing stem cell products without FDA approval and significant deviations from current good manufacturing practice requirements."
- Pharma, in terms of profits, has unsurprisingly come out on top for the second quarter for healthcare (when compared to hospitals and insurance companies) according to a review of financial documents for 58 publicly traded healthcare companies.
- Forbes published the fifth article in its "America's Healthcare Mess" series which begins to tackle the question, "Do we get good value for the money from the ever-increasing river of resources diverted into health?"
- And lastly, in the never-ending saga that is America's healthcare, Congress is currently focused on stabilizing endangered exchange marketplaces.
Our thoughts are with those who have been affected from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. If you have any relief effort suggestions or ways to help the residents of Houston, share them with us in the comments or on Facebook.