Hurricane Gustav – Aftermath and Asthma
I hope all you U.S. readers had fun on the long Labor Day weekend. I spent the holiday laboring to entertain my kids as Hurricane Gustav brushed past my part of Florida on the way to landfall in Louisiana.
While I didn’t even lose power (until this morning, which finds it flickering) and the very outer bands brought only sporadic wind gusts, AG woke up coughing this morning.
Color me unsurprised.
Pressure changes and mold triggers aside, tropical storms can bring asthma problems for my kid even when we’re miles away from landfall. I’m guessing that’s because of all the airborne particles the massive winds toss around.
Last year, during some weather research for a writing project, I read a fascinating book on hurricanes called Windswept: The Story of Wind and Weather. In it, I learned that Hurricane Ivan, which destroyed much of the region I live in now back in 2004, scattered millions of insects and thousands of birds all over the Caribbean and Mexico.
Plus, hurricanes that form off the coast of Africa, as the worst storms do, carry dust full of spores and bacteria from that continent in their winds. When the dust settles and sinks into the ocean, it can injure Caribbean coral.
In other words, if you’ve never lived in hurricane country you may not realize just how massive these storms are and how far-reaching their effects. And while my daughter’s perfectly fine at school this morning and will likely only need her albuterol through tomorrow, many of my Gulf Coast neighbors miles to the west have a tough few weeks–or even months–ahead of them with the possible health effects of Gustav on top of the downed trees and power lines, peeled-back roofs, loss of homes and/or livelihoods, and inland flooding.
Here’s how to help: