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Factors Increasing Vulnerability to Health Effects before, during and after Floods
Department of Public Health & Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Umeå University, SE-90187 Umeå, Sweden
Centre for Health Communication and Participation, School of Public Health & Human Biosciences, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 October 2013; in revised form: 2 December 2013 / Accepted: 3 December 2013 / Published: 11 December 2013
Abstract: Identifying the risk factors for morbidity and mortality effects pre-, during and post-flood may aid the appropriate targeting of flood-related adverse health prevention strategies. We conducted a systematic PubMed search to identify studies examining risk factors for health effects of precipitation-related floods, among Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) member countries. Research identifying flood-related morbidity and mortality risk factors is limited and primarily examines demographic characteristics such as age and gender. During floods, females, elderly and children appear to be at greater risk of psychological and physical health effects, while males between 10 to 29 years may be at greater risk of mortality. Post-flood, those over 65 years and males are at increased risk of physical health effects, while females appear at greater risk of psychological health effects. Other risk factors include previous flood experiences, greater flood depth or flood trauma, existing illnesses, medication interruption, and low education or socio-economic status. Tailoring messages to high-risk groups may increase their effectiveness. Target populations differ for morbidity and mortality effects, and differ pre-, during, and post-flood. Additional research is required to identify the risk factors associated with pre- and post-flood mortality and post-flood morbidity, preferably using prospective cohort studies.
Keywords: vulnerability; floods; risk factors; humans; health
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Lowe, D.; Ebi, K.L.; Forsberg, B. Factors Increasing Vulnerability to Health Effects before, during and after Floods. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 7015-7067.
Lowe D, Ebi KL, Forsberg B. Factors Increasing Vulnerability to Health Effects before, during and after Floods. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(12):7015-7067.
Lowe, Dianne; Ebi, Kristie L.; Forsberg, Bertil. 2013. "Factors Increasing Vulnerability to Health Effects before, during and after Floods." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 12: 7015-7067.