Hurricane Dorian is slowly making its way up the East Coast towards the Carolinas. Are you medically ready in the event you’re impacted by unpredictable weather patterns?

News, Your Health, Family Health | 12 days ago

Are You Medically Prepared for a Hurricane?

Hurricane Dorian is slowly making its way up the East Coast towards the Carolinas. Are you medically ready in the event you're impacted by unpredictable weather patterns?

Hurricane Dorian is slowly making its way up the East Coast towards the Carolinas. Are you medically ready in the event you’re impacted by unpredictable weather patterns? Chris Branner, MD, Specialty Medical Director, Urgent Care Services at Atrium Health, offers tips to prepare you and your family in case of a natural disaster emergency.

Living along the East Coast means the threat of the storm making landfall in our region could be a real possibility. In a matter of days, Hurricane Dorian may change course and shift towards the Carolinas.

Chris Branner, MD, MPH, FAAP, Specialty Medical Director, Urgent Care Services at Atrium Health, provides some helpful medical tips of what you can do to prepare yourself and your family in the event that you would need to leave in a hurry.

Get Ready Now

Make sure to have the following items ready in your emergency medical kit in preparation of a hurricane:

  • Medications for at least one week (two if possible) and copies of prescriptions
  • Extra eyeglasses/contact lenses
  • Medical equipment/assistive technology and backup batteries
  • Specialty foods for those on restricted diets
  • First aid kit
  • Medical insurance cards
  • A copy of your medical records (Either printed out or electronic records copied to a USB drive). You can also access your patient portal through the MyAtriumHealth app at the Apple Store or on Google Play. Make sure to know your username and password to your patient portal in order to access your patient information.

"Of course, each family is different and has individual needs," Dr. Branner said. "Make sure to tailor your preparation list to accommodate any specific needs your family might have."

If you do plan on travelling, make sure you don’t leave medications in locations vulnerable to extremely hot or cold conditions. For example, placing medicine in a glove compartment in a parked car when it’s hot outside could affect its integrity.

Have a Plan

Also, make sure to have a list with up-to-date phone numbers of your doctors, pharmacy, case manager, peer mentor, service provider and local medical facilities, Dr. Branner says. If you’re unsure of the medications you are currently taking, ask your pharmacist to provide you with an updated list.

If you have to leave the area, ask your pharmacy if they are linked with any other pharmacies and get contact information for the other locations. And if you’re worried about running out of medication, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to come up with a plan for how to obtain a refill.

For those who are managing chronic medical conditions such as heart or kidney disease, high blood pressure or diabetes, the last thing you want to be worried about is whether you have enough medication.

"If you know someone that may need some medical assistance while preparing for a storm, please help them if you can," Dr. Branner said "These are our most vulnerable populations and rely more heavily on medications and medical devices than the general population. Help your neighbors if it’s safe and you can."

Know How to Get Help

If you have suffered an unexpected illness or injury, you can schedule an Urgent Care reservation online at one of our 30 urgent care locations. And if you’re needing medical care outside of normal business hours, Atrium Health Urgent Care – Morehead is open 24/7. Our three specialty children’s urgent cares are additionally available to those in need. For less severe conditions, you can visit our virtual care site for at-home treatment.

For serious medical emergencies, Atrium Health’s emergency rooms are open 24/7. If you are experiencing a life-threatening condition, call 911 right away.

If you’re evacuating, make sure you have a plan and you let your family and friends know where you’re going. If you are in need of food, water or shelter, please contact your local chapter or find a shelter near you.