WTAP @ 5 To Your Health Report: Miner's Health

By: Michael Jones, CNN
By: Michael Jones, CNN

A long wait under ground is finally ending for 33 Chilean miners. Now the focus will be on their health.

Michael Jones has more in today's Health Minute.


Elation as the Chilean miners were brought up one by one after more than two months nearly half a mile below ground.

Their frightening situation is ending, but their health challenges could be just beginning.

Many of the miners already had pre-existing health conditions, but all of the 33 men will now be dealing with other potential medical concerns.

J.D. Polk, of NASA, is the chief international consultant for the mine rescue.

He says NASA has helped the Chilean authorities with many health questions, but there is one significant difference in this case.

"Unlike astronauts who actually get to prepare for their long duration missions and confined space, who also have standards and medical checks before their odyssey, these miners were very unprepared for that."

Among the possible health concerns: Skin infections, problems being re-exposed to sunlight, kidney and respiratory problems and even susceptibility to common germs.

And medical professionals will also be monitoring the miners for mental health challenges, including panic attacks, anxiety and nightmares.

"It's a little tricky with this event because there is very little data on how people deal with a situation like this because it is completely unique."

Experts say the fact that the men had interaction with each other and were not completely alone...May help their reintegration back into society.

For Today's Health Minute, I'm Michael Jones.

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