LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - While there are no tropical threats in this second week of hurricane season, health officials are reminding people in coastal communities about the health risks that storms can pose. There are preventive health measures you can take now to ensure that you are ready if a storm heads our way.
The stress that a storm can add to a family keeps many people focused on the "essentials" when it comes to packing and planning, but this can leave those with health issues neglecting what's most important. Dr. Jason Ramm with The Cypress Clinic in Sulphur says, "Now is the time to prepare - what should you do if you need to evacuate, who do you need to contact and how can you keep up with your treatments."
Dr. Ramm says people with special health needs, whether it be contact lenses or oxygen machines, need to make sure they have the proper supplies handy and ready to go. "If you can stay about two weeks ahead on your medications during this time of year it helps, to have them all in a central area so that you can gather them easily," says Dr. Ramm, "it also helps if you have a list of medications."
The medical essential list should include the names of all medications you take, the dosage instructions and if you have other medical needs, like blood pressure or glucose monitoring, hearing aids or specific dietary needs - this should all be listed in one central location.
If you do have to leave town because of an evacuation, Dr. Ramm says don't toss your diet out of the window, try to eat healthy and balanced meals. "It becomes difficult because you're away from home," says Dr. Ramm, "you're not able to prepare your own meals, but the best you can - you want to try to stay on top of your diet."
When an evacuation order is put in place, leaving town without medical supplies can be life-threatening. If you stay in town and risk the potential of losing electricity, make sure that you have a back-up power source for your medical equipment.
*The CDC has a new online feature this hurricane season. You can actually sign up to receive weekly hurricane health and safety tips through e-mail, text message or twitter. Click here to access these messages.