Rampant Disease and Trauma: The Devastating Impact of Hurricanes on Your Health

Hurricanes cause widespread destruction even after they’re gone. Sadly, those affected are more likely to get sick, whether it’s because of polluted water or injuries sustained during the storm. A major storm can also have long-lasting mental health consequences. Here are all the ways a hurricane impacts your health — and what you can do to cope, or help someone else recover.

The spread of contagious disease following a hurricane

A woman wears a face mask and has a fearful look in her eye.

Post-hurricane diseases are extremely common. | Imtmphoto/iStock/Getty Images

It’s not always the storm itself, but the aftermath of its resulting floods that pose the greatest health risks. According to the World Health Organization, extensive flooding often brings with it a wide range of destruction — in the form of disease. It’s much more likely to contract hepatitis A, cholera, and malaria near flooded areas. Without clean drinking water, risk for the spread of contagious disease grows. You can also contract less contagious infections on your skin, eyes, nose, and throat if you come in contact with polluted water.

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