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Physical health impacts of disasters.

Burns, P., Myers, C., Yzermans, J., Dückers, M. Physical health impacts of disasters. In: FitzGerald, G., Pizzino, S., Burns, P, Myers, C., Tarrant, M., Ryan, B., Fredriksen, M., Aitken, P. (Eds). Disaster Health Management: a Primer for Students and Practitioners, 2024. London: Routlegde
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Disasters have profound effects on human physical, mental, and social health, economic and environmental effects, and access to healthcare services. Epidemiologic studies illustrate patterns of illness, disease and injury effects over time following a disaster, and identify more affected subgroups. These distributions and determinants of health-related states in disaster populations allow clinicians to prepare for, and monitor, these clinical presentations, as well as presenting opportunities for early identification and management to improve disaster health outcomes.

Under the realisation of this complex interplay of physical, mental, social and environmental factors, the aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of the impact of disaster on physical health, to identify higher-risk groups and to consider disaster risk reduction strategies to improve disaster health outcomes.