Perspectives on the health effects of hurricanes: A review and challenges

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1 Scopus citations


Hurricanes are devastating natural disasters which dramatically modify the physical landscape and alter the socio-physical and biochemical characteristics of the environment, thus exposing the affected communities to new environmental stressors, which persist for weeks to months after the hurricane. This paper has three aims. First, it conceptualizes potential direct and indirect health effects of hurricanes and provides an overview of factors that exacerbate the health effects of hurricanes. Second, it summarizes the literature on the health impact of hurricanes. Finally, it examines the time lag between the hurricane (landfall) and the occurrence of diseases. Two major findings emerge from this paper. Hurricanes are shown to cause and exacerbate multiple diseases, and most adverse health impacts peak within six months following hurricanes. However, chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and mental disorders, continue to occur for years following the hurricane impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2756
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental stressors
  • Health impact persistence
  • Health impacts
  • Hurricanes
  • Timelagged health effects of hurricanes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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