Today marks the start of the 2010 hurricane season. It’s important to prepare your home and family before severe weather sets in. With some planning, families can stay safe and healthy despite adverse conditions and inclement weather.
- Make healthy food choices. It can seem limiting to eat only foods that require no refrigeration, especially if children are picky eaters or a family member has dietary limitations. But it’s critical to consider nutrition when you stock the pantry for a hurricane. Look for low-sodium soups and canned fruits in light syrup. Dried fruits, wheat crackers, and peanut butter are also excellent choices. Powdered milk and juice boxes are preferable to sodas or. Meanwhile, avoid pastries, cookies, and other sweets.
- Avoid dehydration. Each person will need about a gallon of drinking water per day, and it’s best to stock a week’s supply. Store the water in a cool, dry location-heat can damage the plastic bottles, potentially introducing harmful chemicals that also affect the water’s taste. Even when inactive, people’s bodies still need water to function properly, so be sure that everyone gets plenty of fluid each day.
- Double check the first aid kit. Ensure that all the items in your first aid kit are still sterile. Replace any items with damaged packaging and any medications that are past their expiration date. Add a two-week supply of any daily medications (both prescription and over the counter). Include copies of any current prescriptions and an up-to-date medical record that covers any drug allergies, medical conditions, and recent procedures. If emergency medical care is necessary, this record can provide vital information that may not otherwise be accessible during severe weather.
- Get ICE cards for everyone. An ICE card provides a brief summary of important medical details, along with contact information. During hurricane season, it’s a good idea to include two contacts: one immediate family member and someone who lives out of state (and out of danger from a hurricane) and can serve as a contact person for all family members during an emergency.
- Make special arrangements in advance. If you or a family member has special medical needs, make any arrangements now, before a storm. Find out which shelters will be equipped to address your needs. Remember that hospitals are not shelters during a hurricane; their goal is to continue caring for current patients and provide emergency care as needed. For information on shelters in Seminole County, visit the county’s EOC website.
If you need more information about hurricane preparation or taking care of your special medical needs during a hurricane, contact Central Florida Regional Hospital. Visit us online or call Consult-a-Nurse® at 1-800-445-3392.