Health & hurricane preparation

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, August 31, 2022

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LUTCHER — Every year before hurricane season starts, it is important plan ahead—especially when it comes to your health. St. James Parish Hospital nurse leaders who serve on the hospital’s Emergency Response Team put together the following list to help you plan and prepare for the next storm.

  • Make a plan for where you will go in the event of an evacuation.
  • Find out where the nearest shelter will be in case that is your only option.
  • Write down local call center and emergency numbers. The United Way has a wonderful 211 line that helps people access necessary resources.
  • If you do have access to data or Internet, continue to check Parish and Hospital Facebook pages for information.
  • Keep a folder containing all important medical documentation for your family. Include a list of each person’s allergies, medications, pharmacy, medical history, doctors, emergency contacts and copies of your insurance cards. Make sure to seal it in an airtight, waterproof bag.
  • If you or any of your household members require daily medication, prepare an extra two-week supply for emergencies. Call your healthcare provider or pharmacy before the storm is close. They’ll typically allow you to refill prescriptions early in preparation. Don’t forget over-the-counter medications too, like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antacids, allergy medications and vitamins.
  • A first aid kit is an emergency preparedness staple. Make sure yours is always fully stocked and easily accessible. Your disaster kit should also include medical supplies specific to your and your family’s needs such as extra batteries for hearing aids, blood testing strips and insulin, spare glasses or contacts and syringes.
  • Personal hygiene items like hand sanitizer, toothbrushes and toothpaste, baby wipes, feminine products and soap are also important to have on hand.
  • If you require dialysis, have a plan and know where you will go for care (typically an outpatient dialysis center). Have the names of centers in and around the area.
  • If you are oxygen dependent, have a portable oxygen concentrator (or tanks) and a DC-charger. If you have a portable oxygen concentrator, you may be able to use the power in your car to recharge your batteries if necessary.
  • Have all important papers together and in a safe place (driver’s license, health insurance cards, medication list, prescriptions and important phone numbers).
  • To be safe, have at least two weeks of water, non-perishable food and anything you may need for special dietary needs.
  • Have a flashlight, weather radio and extra batteries.
  • If you have young children, be sure to have a week’s supply of items like diapers, a battery-powered breast pump, a thermometer, infant formula, bottles, wipes and diaper rash cream on hand.
  • Put necessary items, medications, paperwork, etc. in easy to carry containers, like plastic storage bins or duffle bags, and put them in an easy-to-access location. You never know when you’ll need to evacuate your home and you’ll want to bring these items with you.