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Feeling sick from the ITC Deer Park fire? Call your health care provider, county says

HOUSTON – Anyone feeling ill from the ITC Deer Park fire should contact their healthcare provider, Harris County Public Health said. 

While the department said air monitoring levels do not indicate unsafe levels, it said since it's an "evolving situation," those who are experiencing symptoms should call a doctor.

“I worry when officials say no health effects are expected,” Dr. Winifred Hamilton, the Director of Environmental Health Science at the Baylor College of Medicine said. “They’re really talking about acute, immediate health effects, and we may still see some of those.”

Symptoms could include coughing, difficulty breathing and burning, irritation and redness to eyes, nose and throat. People could also experience headaches, nausea or dizziness. 

Elderly people, pregnant women and children with respiratory issues or are immunosuppressed may be impacted. 

But in a region with poor air pollution, during the worst month of the year for air pollen, "on top of that, now we have this big plume of tiny combustion particles and gases and also these volatile organic gasoline type chemicals adding additional stress to our bodies," Hamilton said.

We need to look closely at sensitive populations downstream from the plume for "the next month or so" for negative health affects, Hamilton said.

We talked to the Director of Environmental Health Science at the Baylor College of Medicine about the Deer Park chemical plant fire’s affect on air quality. “I worry when officials say no health effects are expected,” Dr. Winifred Hamilton said. “They’re really talking about acute, immediate health effects, and we may still see some of those.” But “we also need to look down[wind] for the next month or so,” she said, because negative health effects for sensitive populations don’t always show up immediately.

Posted by KPRC2 Jacob Rascon on Monday, March 18, 2019

 

 

 

 


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