Dr. Christopher Fagundes, an Assistant Professor at Rice University, is a specialist in psychoneuroimmunology, examining the impact of stress on the human body, especially by the immune system. Harvey survivors provide fertile ground for study, and he says children may be among those most significantly effected.
“When you’re young and predisposed to something like asthma, you can imagine that those symptoms are going to be much worse,” he tells NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
He says there aren’t enough data points available yet for a complete analysis of Harvey’s impact, and they’ll have to be contrasted to points from before the storm for a thorough understanding of the lingering affects of stress, as well as toxins released into the air from chemical plants during the storm.
“When that’s combined with certain environmental factors that we know occurred with Harvey, in those certain neighborhoods, we’re almost certain we’re going to see an uptick in that,” he says of the potential impact.
Older residents can also experience an increase in symptoms of COPD and respiratory ailments.
There has been a year for people to try to put their lives back in order, but Dr. Fagundes says the one year anniversary will sneak up on some and cause an unanticipated reaction. He’s seen it before in studying the impact of the death of a spouse. “At the one-year anniversary specifically, you see people having a much harder time, showing symptoms of depressive symptoms, poor sleep quality and anxiety,” he says.
A report from the Environmental Integrity Project concludes 8.3 million pounds of unauthorized pollution was released into the air over southeast Texas during the storm.