- By Cynthia (Cindy) Weiss
Safety measures before a hurricane: Tropical Storm Dorian looms off Caribbean
Tropical Storm Dorian is already drenching Puerto Rico and is predicted to strengthen into a hurricane that could potentially affect Florida and parts of the East Coast by late Sunday, Sept. 1. While most people tend to focus their preparations on having an adequate supply of food, water and batteries, it's also important to plan for health and wellness.
Dr. Michael Boniface, a Mayo Clinic emergency medicine physician, says addressing health and safety concerns before a storm will help keep you and your family safe during and after severe weather.
"Taking time to review your personal health needs and add items to your supply kit before a storm is extremely valuable," says Dr. Boniface.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites with Dr. Boniface are in the downloads at the end of this post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network."
At a minimum, Dr. Boniface recommends arranging a first-aid kit with items such as bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, handkerchiefs, and over-the-counter pain relievers and allergy medicine.
Medication management and documentation
Dr. Boniface recommends having at least three to 10 days' worth of medications on hand. Make plans for keeping medication safe, especially if they require refrigeration.
"Make sure you have enough ice and proper storage. Also, it is important to find out how the long medication can last at room temperature," says Dr. Boniface. "Additionally, make sure you have extra batteries or a backup power supply for any medical equipment, such as insulin pumps, sleep apnea machines or oxygen tanks."
Lastly, keep a list of health providers, phone numbers and medications in your emergency kit, as well as any important papers, such as medical records, health care directives and living wills.
While it is important to follow local, state and federal directives regarding evacuations and safety, Dr. Boniface says health issues, such as chest pain, abdominal pain or passing out, are medical emergencies and warrant a call to 911.
Additional hurricane preparation lists and other tips are available online:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Federal Emergency Management Association
- Department of Homeland Security
In addition, Mayo Clinic has more information on hurricane health and safety preparedness and storm cleanup tips:
- "3-day plan to eat from a can"
- "Safety tips during a storm"
- "Mayo Clinic Minute: Stay safe after storm cleanup"
- "Mayo Clinic Minute: Staying hydrated during hurricane recovery"
Editor's Note: Mayo Clinic is closely monitoring Tropical Storm Dorian. There are no changes to the Jacksonville, Florida, clinic operations or schedules at this time. Please check the patient hurricane hotline (904-953-7100) for additional updates.