New reports are showing that Hurricane Sandy took a toll not only on our city’s real estate, but also our health. Although a portion of the salvageable homes damaged by the storm have been repaired, many are still without heat. With temperatures in NYC dropping below 30 degrees recently, residents in affected areas are more susceptible to colds and hypothermia, or being exposed to carbon monoxide while cranking stoves to stay warm. Reports show that emergency rooms saw three times as many patients as normal come in due to exposure to cold temperatures in November.

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Colds and hypothermia aren’t the only risks, as the health department also saw an increase of carbon monoxide exposure during the storm – with six times more cases than average surfacing even weeks after the storm. Carbon monoxide exposure can also weaken the immune system, which could be a gateway to other sicknesses.

Over 12,000 hurricane victims are still living without heat across the city, and many are elderly and disabled residents who are unable to get around easily. If moving these residents is not an option, the health department is recommending that they wear layers of dry, loose-fitting clothing to help keep the body warm. They also advise against ovens or portable gas heaters, which could cause carbon monoxide poisoning or fires.

Via NY Times

Images ©NY National Guard