Real-Time Data is Required for Monitoring Health After Natural Catastrophes

Monitoring Health – Weather-related disasters like the millions of Floridians left without power by Hurricane Ian or the record monsoon rains that have claimed 1,500 lives in Pakistan have increased five times over the last 50 years because of changes in the climate. Researchers must be prepared to react quickly to human-caused and climate-related catastrophes. Monitoring Health

Monitoring Health

If you are looking into the health effects of an environmental natural disaster such as a hurricane or an oil spill that affects residents and cleanup crews the most valuable data for researchers is current exposure and health data taken from them. Monitoring Health

Such data however , aren’t often collected in real-time, which poses a challenge for research teams as well as the communities , when they try to discover what their health might be affected. Monitoring Health

I and my colleagues who work on the study on the Gulf’s Long-Term Follow-up faced this issue as we studied the people working on the cleanup and response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 which saw more than five million barrels of crude oil released into the water. The oil slicks that resulted from the spill covered hundreds of miles. Monitoring Health

People involved in the response as well as the cleanup soon started reporting symptoms like coughing, wheezing, breathlessness and many other symptoms. My colleagues and I wanted to find out if these symptoms were likely due to exposure to chemicals that disperse oil across the Gulf during the cleaning.