Objective Strong earthquakes have been reported to increase the incidence of diseases. One reason for these increases may be the stress from the poor living environment for evacuees in disaster shelters. To reduce stress, makeshift cardboard beds were introduced in shelters in the Ishinomaki region, one of the areas heavily damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake, 4 months after the earthquake. The study was performed to determine whether use of the beds offered a reduction in the disease burden. Methods Blood pressure and blood D-dimer values, often used as diagnostic tests for venous thrombosis, were checked. The timed Up & Go (TUG) test, which assesses functional mobility; a questionnaire survey about symptoms (cough, insomnia, and lumbago); and an SF-8 health survey, a health-related quality of life survey, were also administered before and 1 month after introducing the beds. Results Blood pressure measurements, TUG test results, and questionnaire survey scores improved significantly 1 month after the introduction of the beds. Also, evacuees with higher blood D-dimer values tended to show improvement, suggesting that the beds may have had a good effect on persons with underlying venous thrombotic disorders. Conclusion Makeshift beds of cardboard could be very useful in disaster shelters.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health