Health Risks of a Tornado

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It is sad to note that as usual this year also tornadoes are visiting the plain states of the US causing damages and casualties. The tornado wind is estimated to blow with a speed between 165 to 175 miles-an-hour. Generally tornadoes occur in the evening hours between 5 P.M. and 12 P. M. Although the National Weather Service issues timely warnings about tornado, injuries and casualties take place.

Health risks of tornado

1) The main health risk caused by a tornado is the injuries caused by the flying debris.  The stormy winds at a very high speed in circular nature lead to the elevation and transport of anything that is on the way. Even weak buildings and roof tops are thrown out. Most of the victims are injured by the structural collapse. Some people standing on the ground are also injured. Some areas are completely devastated. The scrap materials such as tin sheets and asbestos sheets cause injuries. The most common cause of death by tornado is by head injuries, bleeding or sepsis following wounds sustained. Most of the victims have injuries, lacerations, bruises and minor cuts.

2) FastMed, an organization started to meet such emergencies, reports that there is no state in the nation that is completely immune from tornados, and in North Carolina, where FastMed has most of its clinics, was one that was particularly hard hit by tornadoes this year. 

Don Williamson, Health Officer of Alabama, said that health hazards still lurk as state residents continue efforts to clean up debris and begin the process of rebuilding from a series of violent tornadoes. He said that most of the health hazards are still hidden in the debris. He pointed out how hazards occur when the people cut on glass and other jagged objects mixed in with the debris or when they come in contact with dangerous creatures such as a poisonous snake that has sought refuge in the rubble.

3) If the debris is not cleared and the surroundings cleaned, it may cause breeding a lot of flies which carry many diseases. The warm climate of summer helps their breeding. This may lead to epidemics.

4) Gas leakage, open stoves, hanging live electric lines, etc. may cause heavy toll on human life. Wet floors also may cause falls and injuries.

5) The burning of debris during the cleaning process causes another health hazard. The fallen trees have to be cleared and disposed or burnt. In the recent tornado at the dump Eddie Zit, a professional burn specialist from Slidell Louisiana, is responsible for burning thousands of tons of tornado debris.

6) Loss or injury of pets is another health problem. It is estimated that about 50% to 60% of North American households own pets and many of these pets are considered as family members. Afflictions to the pets or the psychological effects that the family members face cause further health problems.


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