Tips

The Perfect Storm: How to Prepare for the Worst During Hurricane Season


by Skye Sherman - September 17, 2018


Photo Credit: by Shawn Wainwright, flickr.com
Photo Credit: by Shawn Wainwright, flickr.com

With the recent scare of Hurricane Florence, which threatened the Carolinas as it approached the vulnerable coast under a Category 4 rating, more people than ever want to make sure that they know what to do in case a hurricane strikes. In recent years, hurricanes seem to be hitting places that do not usually encounter these major, potentially life threatening storms. Everyone knows that Caribbean islands and the state of Florida are at risk of facing hurricanes, but people in places like Texas and the mid- to upper-east coast of the United States do not experience these storms as a common occurrence.

Hurricane preparedness is an essential part of staying safe in a storm. Part of being prepared is knowing what to do in the worst case scenario. Everyone hopes and prays that the hurricanes simmer down as they approach, but the unfortunate truth is that sometimes they gain power and speed, making landfall with catastrophic-force winds, rains, and storm surges. In cases like this, nothing but disaster follows in their wake.

In some cases, as with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in recent years, reality becomes a nightmare for those living in areas that are devastated by the storms. People may find themselves living in shelters for weeks or months, entire cities can be without power, and homes and businesses can be destroyed. In situations like this, normal life becomes a distant memory and your routine is disrupted. What do you do about your health care, staying safe, getting access to prescriptions you need, and things of that nature?

We’ll go over all these things in the article below. Feel free to print this article out and keep it on hand in your box of hurricane supplies. It may come in handy someday with very useful information, especially if you find that you are without Internet or power and unable to look up information in the moment. If you have questions about being safe during a hurricane, read on.

How to prepare for a hurricane

Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico regions typically lasts from June through November. During these months, residents should know that a hurricane could strike at any time.

Of course, usually you get at least a couple of days notice before the hurricane makes landfall. This is because hurricanes are relatively slow moving and meteorologists can see them coming from a long way off, as well as predict when a storm is brewing and may develop into something more. As they barrel toward land, hurricanes either fizzle out or gain strength, thus helping to provide at least a small window of time for affected areas to prepare.

People who are in the predicted cone of the hurricane’s path usually have a few options. If the storm is a Category 2 or lower, usually it is safe to ride out in place. However, any stronger than that -- especially at a Category 4 or 5 -- and the area may call for recommended or mandatory evacuations.

First and foremost, it’s essential to keep an eye on news coverage and weather tracking. Don’t underestimate the potential power and destructive capability of these storms; people have lost their homes, livelihoods, and even their lives due to the sheer force of winds, rains, floods, and storm surges.

What is most important is that you follow all advised safety tips and evacuation procedures. Stock up on food, water, health and hygiene items, and other supplies in the event that you were to go a few days without power. You have to make sure you’d be ready and able to survive if this happened. You may also be without cell service, water, Internet, and more. Are you ready? It might also be wise to invest in a generator, and test it beforehand to make sure it works.

In the months and weeks leading up to hurricane season, it would be smart to trim trees and cut loose landscaping so that these do not become flying debris during a storm. Before a hurricane hits, bring any outdoor furniture inside, and secure or tie down whatever you cannot bring inside.

The three most important steps to remember are: get a hurricane kit ready, make a plan, and stay informed. As long as you do these three things, that’s the most you can do. Use a hurricane checklist to make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

Health and safety tips during hurricanes

Once a hurricane strikes, don’t think that you are out of danger. Sometimes, once the storm passes and cleanup begins, that’s when the real risks present themselves. There may be floods, downed power lines, destroyed homes, fallen trees, and worse. During this time as emergency response teams come to help with the recovery efforts, you’ll want to make sure to do all you can to stay safe and healthy, and help others do the same, too.

As far as prescriptions go, this can be the trickiest part. If you rely on medications for your health and wellness, your body doesn’t know that a storm came and may be making the simplest of tasks more difficult. Keep a few of these pointers in mind so that you avoid risks as much as possible.

You should never take drugs that have been exposed to flood water or unsafe tap water because they might be contaminated. Instead, these medications should be discarded. For those in an area facing heavy rains and flooding due to a hurricane, it would be smart to put your medications into resealable plastic bags to help protect from water damage and seal out moisture.

Here are some other tips regarding access to medical care during a time of natural disaster:

● If you need to find an open pharmacy during a time of disaster, check out RxOpen.org, which displays open and closed pharmacies during disasters. The site also lists locations of American Red Cross shelters and infusion centers in the affected communities.

● Low-income patients, especially those without insurance, should go to community health centers or clinics where the charity Direct Relief (directrelief.org) provides free prescription drugs and medical supplies to those who need them.

● Those who need dialysis treatments should contact their insurance provider to find out how they can get supplies, transportation to dialysis services, and other information about dialysis treatments.

● The National Cancer Institute (800-4CANCER) can help locate cancer care providers for people who need chemotherapy or other cancer treatments.

Check on your friends and family members during and after the storm, and ask relatives to check on you if you’re in a danger zone. Not only does this help to make sure that someone is out there looking out for your best interest, it helps give everyone peace of mind knowing that they are looked after and someone is checking up on them. This is an important part of any hurricane safety plan.

Keeping children safe during a hurricane

Keeping kids safe and calm during a storm is also a factor for many people. Make sure to communicate with your children as the storm advances, being clear and honest with them about what’s happening, but doing your best to assure them that you will take care of them.

Make sure to get extras of any infant or children supplies on hand that you may need, and keep their routine as consistent as possible. Provide them with toys or comfort objects to help them wait out the storm in peace. There’s no need to expose them to frightening news stories. Comfort them and let them know that everything will be all right, and take advantage of the chance to teach them important life lessons and skills.

What to do about getting important prescriptions and health care during a hurricane

When businesses are closed or when major damage has hit a city, what do you do about gaining access to the medical care you need? According to an article in AARP titled “How to Get Your Prescription Drugs During a Disaster,” “Thousands of people rescued from rooftops and plucked from rising water had to leave everything behind when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston last year. For many, prescription drugs were among the items they abandoned. … Being without essential medicine for days can pose a health threat and adds to the sense of panic people feel during such emergencies — especially natural disasters. That’s why your hurricane preparation should include making sure that you have enough medication to last for a few weeks.

Even if your prescription isn’t up for refill yet, many states permit pharmacists to make medically necessary exceptions during an emergency. State laws in North Carolina and South Carolina, both now in official states of emergency due to Florence, allow pharmacists to refill a prescription, as much as a 30-day supply, during a natural disaster without a doctor’s authorization. (That’s for the majority of medications labeled Schedule III or IV; the law is more rigid for Schedule II drugs, considered to have a high potential for abuse, such as morphine, fentanyl and codeine.) …

Because you might be evacuated or stuck at home for days after the storm due to flooding, it's important to have at least a two-week supply, says Barbara Young, editor of patient medication information at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.”

As part of your hurricane kit and hurricane preparedness plan, talk to your doctor about the best options for you and your health care needs during and after the storm. You may be able to get extra refills of your prescriptions if needed, and make sure you have emergency contact information on hand for you or your family members during the hurricane. This way, if disaster strikes, you’ll know what steps to take.

What do you do during a hurricane if you need medical attention or timely prescriptions?

This is one of those life-saving questions that many people do not think to prepare for beforehand. However, if a catastrophe strikes and your area has lost power or normal services are shut down, what do you do if you have an emergency? How do you get access to the prescriptions you need? It’s important to have some knowledge of the process before you find yourself in an unfortunate situation.

In addition to the above information, you should know that if a hurricane is bad enough, there will likely be emergency responders and disaster response teams on hand to help with the relief effort. Normal services like phone lines, police availability, ambulances, and more may all be cut off during a storm. However, if you are not able to access what you need, know that help is likely on the way. If you need help, send a request for assistance out however you can -- through the phone, Internet, neighbors, or an old-fashioned messenger who may be able to brave the conditions that you can’t.

Ordering prescriptions from Canada Pharmacy Online

One way to access your prescriptions in an affordable and reliable way is to order from an online Canadian pharmacy.

However, it’s important to note that if you order prescriptions online, they may experience a delay in delivery if mail or shipping services are disrupted because of the effects of the storm. Make sure you’re staying on top of your drug treatment schedule and normal prescription regimen. Order your prescriptions in advance if needed, or make sure you have enough supply on hand to sustain you if you happen to go without power or mail service for weeks. You don’t want to run out of the prescriptions you need and have no way to access them, as this could result in a severe health crisis depending on your specific case or condition.

If you need help ordering your prescriptions, don’t hesitate to reach out and get in touch with us. We’re here to help and happy to answer whatever questions you may have about the process. Ask your doctor for your prescription so that you can contact us and we can get you the medications you need.

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