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Health Impacts of Recent Storms and Flooding Begin to Surface



Residents of San Diego‘s Beta Street are experiencing the health consequences of the historic flooding that occurred two weeks ago. Miguel and Martha Gomez, an elderly couple residing on Beta Street, were trapped inside their home as the water rushed in, resulting in hypothermia and various complications. Martha spent a week in the hospital, receiving treatment for pneumonia and a blood clot in her lung. She is now on oxygen support, although it is uncertain for how long.

Another Beta Street resident, Koko Fajardo, shared her experience of having her home flooded. As she and her husband began the daunting task of repairing the damage, Fajardo developed symptoms such as body aches, migraines, and severe congestion. She started wearing a mask to protect herself from the airborne particulates.

Dr. Vi Nguyen, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente, has witnessed an increase in illnesses among children following the flood. Gastrointestinal issues have been the most prevalent, likely due to the exposure to contaminated water and mud. Dr. Nguyen emphasizes that both flood victims and volunteers are at risk of respiratory problems and asthma attacks as a result of inhaling the pollutants in the air and water.

Dr. Nguyen advises individuals in flood-affected areas to take precautions such as wearing N95 or KN95 masks, showering after being in contact with floodwaters, and using air purifiers. These measures can help reduce the risk of respiratory infections, sinus issues, and pneumonia.

A fundraising campaign has been launched to assist the Gomez family in rebuilding their home, and Koko Fajardo has also organized a relief effort to support her neighbors and the community.

Rachel Adams

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