I have practiced medicine in the Houston area since 2008, with much of that time spent in Meyerland. Since Hurricane Harvey, I have seen a notable increase in patients suffering from complications related to their asthma and higher instances of colds and sinusitis that escalates to bronchitis. Many of these patients were first-responders in various parts of the city who spent many hours outdoors, and I continue to see them on an ongoing basis because of their recurring respiratory problems. I also have seen more instances of pneumonia in many of my older patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Harvey’s air pollution did not discriminate. Based on the people I have treated, the dirty air affected everyone: teachers, firefighters, city employees and many more. I am sure that other parts of Houston are seeing this kind of chronic illness because of the contaminants in the air. This is creating real problems for families and employers. I really hope that as a city we can do better for ourselves, for our neighbors and our children.