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Emergency Readiness for When Disaster Strikes

Helpful tips to prepare you for an emergency situation before Mother Nature takes action.

No matter where we live in the world, a natural or man-made disaster can happen at any moment. Living in an area prone to flooding, tornados or earthquakes can create a level of uncertainty and unpredictability as to when disaster may strike. Even with the most up-to-date technology the path of a hurricane can be predicted but is never 100% accurate. These and other situations may not give you enough time to prepare for the unthinkable.

When disaster strikes, it not only destroys an area, it impacts the surrounding communities by limiting resources, causing power outages and food scarcity. 

Having a neurological condition like idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) can present additional obstacles when trying to stay safe. Those with IIH have reported experiencing worsening of IIH symptoms due to atmospheric pressure changes and swings in temperature. Now is a great time to consider preparing for an emergency situation before Mother Nature takes action.

Here is an action plan to help you stay organized:

  • Food: Stock up on items that prevent triggering a headache or migraine
  • Medications: Refill early to stock up on critical drugs
  • Supplies: Medical equipment, medical records, and identification are essential
  • Relocate: Be proactive by moving to an unaffected area earlier rather than later. 

Food 

Consider packing provisions that stay aligned with your diet. There are certain ingredients that can trigger a headache or migraine that you should try to avoid. 

  • Alcohol
  • Sulfites
  • Tyramine
  • Nitrates

Unfortunately a large percentage of nonperishable foods contain the above ingredients, so by stocking up on items that prevent a headache or migraine attack, it is worth bringing. As always, stay hydrated

Medications

With IIH and other chronic conditions, there are critical medications that you need to take everyday. Depending on your insurance plan, you can fill 60- or 90-days worth of medications. If that is not possible, then refill your medications the day you are eligible so you can begin to accumulate extra doses. 

Make sure you check that your extra stash is not about to expire. If so, rotate them out with newer ones.

In the United States, officials can declare a “state of emergency” if danger is imminent. Laws are in place that allow food, fuel, medical support and the National Guard to be immediately sent to communities that may be affected ahead of time. It also allows pharmacists to dispense an emergency supply of a medication you already have on file, without doctor authorization. 

It is recommended to have 1 week of prescription medication and nonprescription medication on hand. Pharmacies may not be open during hazardous times. Damage to buildings, roadways and downed power lines may preclude you from accessing hospitals and grocery stores, even after disaster occurs. Deliveries to the area of devastation to restock goods can take weeks depending on the location. 

Consider purchasing over-the-counter pain relievers, antacids, and antihistamines to name a few. Because of the increased demand, there may be a shortage of common items, so it is best to prepare ahead. 

Supplies 

Consider picking up about 1-2 weeks worth of medical supplies. For example, if you need needles, syringes, gauze, alcohol pads or a first aid kit. Remember batteries or chargers for glucose monitors and other medical equipment. And don’t forget sanitary products.

Keep important financial documents and identification with you. Keep your medical diary, smartphone app or paper documentation on hand in case you are unable to provide your own history. Having a rare diagnosis is challenging to explain everything, especially when your symptoms kick in. 

A medical ID card can come in handy in these situations.

Relocate 

If it is destined that your area will be affected by a natural disaster, be proactive by packing a small bag full of essential items and filling your car with gasoline. If you live alone, consider relocating to a safe area to be with close family and or friends. 

If that is not possible, then know where there is a local shelter to surround yourself with assistance. Some places may allow you to register yourself so you are accounted for. 

Be independent by having 3-5 days of the non perishable food, water, and hygiene materials on hand. 

If you have pets, there are shelters that will house them for you or allow them to stay where you shelter. Talk to your veterinarian for other resources and advice. 

Communication

Have your cell phone and other electronics fully charged.

Let your loved ones know your plan. Let them know how to keep in touch with you. 

Discuss with your healthcare provider what the plans are for availability and access to care before, during and after a natural disaster. Having access to an emergency line, telemedicine, and social media can help bridge you with your medical team. Most practices have a plan A, B, and C. Knowing their action plan in advance will avoid any confusion or misunderstanding. 

If you go to a different location, know where your local hospital or emergency department is and have as much medical information available to share to the new team. 

Resources

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June 26, 2024
Helpful tips to prepare you for an emergency situation before Mother Nature takes action....

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