Hurricane season is once again upon us. In addition to stocking up on nonperishable foods, bottled water and batteries, let me also remind you to make preparations for your health and medical needs, too.
If there is a storm approaching, be sure you have refills of your prescription medications and other essential medical supplies, like oxygen. Florida law allows pharmacies to fill prescriptions in advance during hurricane warnings. Think ahead, too, about preserving refrigerated drugs, like insulin, in case the power goes out — be sure you have enough ice to keep them cool for several days. If you have questions about your drug’s safety following a storm and power outage, you can reach out to poison control for assistance.
If you have medical equipment, write down the details, including the size, manufacturer, and company and account numbers. Stock up on batteries, especially if you require batteries that need to be ordered. Consider your need for medical supplies, like catheters and dressings, as well as dietary restrictions, so you can be sure you have appropriate stock of supplies and options available.
One of the most important things to do to prepare for hurricane season is to determine if you or your loved ones need access to a special care shelter. Hospitals and health care facilities are not hurricane shelters. If you or a loved one requires assistance that exceeds services provided at a general population shelter, you must preregister. [For more information on special needs shelters in Charlotte County, see www.charlottecountyfl.tyfl.gov/departments/ public-safety/emergency-management/special-needs-program.stml.
If you choose to stay home and use a generator, be sure you know how to properly use it — generators are one of the leading causes of injury and death following a storm. Another common meds medical issue after a storm is heat-related illnesses. Make sure you stay hydrated, and, if you are working outside, wear a hat and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Watch out, too, for storm surges and flooding. Swiftly moving shallow water can pose a drowning risk for everyone, regardless of their ability to swim. Even shallow standing water can be dangerous for small children.
While we hope that Southwest Florida will be spared serious storms, we cannot predict what this year’s hurricane season will bring. So, we all must be prepared with everything we need, especially when it comes to our health and medical needs, so we can weather any storm and its aftermath. ¦