Maui wildfires linked to concerning health effects in recent study

A recent study by the University of Hawaii has brought to light potential long-term health concerns for survivors of the Maui wildfires. The research, which included nearly 700 participants from West Maui and Upcountry, revealed unexpected health issues among those who went without medical check-ups for up to seven months after the fires.

One study participant, Nikima Glatt, shared her experience of living in Lahaina during the fires and working in the burn zone during re-entry. She noted the impact on her physical health, stating that she now struggles to do activities she used to enjoy like running and skating.

The survey, conducted between January and February, was funded by the Hawaii Community Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. In addition to physical health concerns, the study also examined mental health issues among participants. More than 50% reported an increase in depression, 34% had suicidal thoughts, and 30% experienced moderate to severe anxiety. Many participants had also faced job loss and difficulties finding permanent housing after the fires, with 13% lacking health insurance.

The University of Hawaii hopes to expand the survey to include 2,000 participants but is currently waiting on state funding due to the high cost of medical tests. Each participant in the study receives $100 for their participation. The full report of the study can be accessed online.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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