10 Ways to Protect Your Health During Hurricane Dorian

10 Ways to Protect Your Health During Hurricane Dorian

September 4, 2019

September 4, 2019 - Hurricane Dorian, now a Category 2 storm, is currently making its way north towards the Carolinas. Despite being downgraded from a Category 5 storm to a 2, Dorian continues to grow in size.

During a natural disaster, circumstances and devastating effects from the storm can put your health at risk. It’s essential for those affected by the storm to prioritize their health to minimize potential adverse effects.

If you are a resident of any of the locations in Dorian’s path, use these resources to protect your, your family, and your friends’ health during this catastrophic storm.  

10 ways to protect your health during Hurricane Dorian:

  1. Stay Connected – Follow your state and local public health and emergency management agencies’ websites and social media accounts. Local officials have the most recent and relevant information and will keep you up to date on their responses specific to your area. Search for relevant hashtags to Hurricane Dorian such as #Dorian and #HurricaneDorian.

  2. Don't ration your medicines during the hurricane – Maintain regularly scheduled use of medicines, especially for chronic conditions. Consider setting a reminder on your phone throughout the storm to take them as prescribed. Do not try to ration your medicines or change your plan of care on your own. If you need assistance with managing your prescribed medicines, contact a healthcare provider immediately.

  3. Keep your medicine clean, dry, and at the correct temperature – Ensure your medicines do not come into contact with water or become exposed to other hurricane conditions. Some medicines must be stored within a certain temperature range, so identify locations where you can access power including shelters, pharmacies (located using Rx Open), or communicate with neighbors who have access to generators.

  4. Know resources and hotlines for assistance – Use Rx Open, an interactive map that helps you locate nearby pharmacies that remain open during disasters, to refill your medications or access other lifesaving services or products. 
  5. If you have a chronic disease, disability, or are a senior and need emergency assistance, refer to these emergency resources:

    • Healthcare Ready: 1-866-247-2694
    • FEMA: 1-800-621-3362
    • American Diabetes Association: 1-800-342-2283
    • American Heart Association: 1-800-242-8721
    • American Association of People with Disabilities: 1-800-840-8844
    • American Stroke Association: 1-888-478-7653
    • American Red Cross: 1-800-733-2767

  6. Attend to your mental health and well-being – SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
    • Optum is offering a free emotional-support line open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for as long as necessary.
    • Many telemedicine providers also make their services available at no cost to residents in disaster areas. For example, Blue CareOnDemand, managed by AmWell, is offering access to general telehealth medical care at no cost to residents in zones affected by Hurricane Dorian in South Carolina.

  7. Drink plenty of bottled water and avoid skipping meals – Stay hydrated and nourished to keep your energy up as you work to protect your and your family’s health!
    • Do not eat foods that have expired, perished, or come into contact with flood water. Perishable foods in the refrigerator will be unsafe to eat after 4 hours without power. Use dry or block ice to keep your refrigerator cold for longer.
    • If you do not have bottled water, boil (for at least 1 minute) or disinfect water to make it safe to drink.

  8. Cover open wounds and limit exposure to floodwater at all times – Floodwater and standing water can be dangerous and make you vulnerable to infections or injuries. If you come into contact with floodwater, clean the area with soap as soon as possible. If you are injured, seek medical attention at a shelter, pharmacy, or hospital.

  9. Seek protection at a designated storm shelter – During a disaster, shelters offer a safe place to sleep, eat, and stay hydrated in addition to offering health services and assistance in locating loved ones.

  10. Stay alert to changing conditions– When waiting out Hurricane Dorian, listen to local authorities on the radio or television and be mindful of changing conditions. The eye of the storm may be misleading – winds will change direction and quickly return to hurricane conditions even after the “calm”. Wait until your area has been declared safe before returning home or starting recovery efforts.

  11. Check in with your friends, family, and neighbors – Together, we can meet the needs of our communities when we come together to respond to Dorian.

For a comprehensive list of resources for all areas affected by Hurricane Dorian, visit Healthcare Ready’s Hurricane Dorian Emergency Page. If you need additional support, please contact us or call our hotline at 1-866-247-2694. Our support team is activated and ready to help those affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Courtney Romolt

Courtney Romolt is a Program Analyst at Healthcare Ready, where she provides research and communications support for a wide variety of programs and initiatives. Before joining Healthcare Ready, Courtney worked with the World Resources Institute's Initiative 20x20 to promote the business case for landscape restoration in Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to this, she researched the environmental effects, economic trends, and regulatory framework of enhanced oil recovery as a Graduate Consultant for the NGO Clean Water Action. Courtney holds a Masters of Arts in International Economics and Energy, Resources and the Environment from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where she also earned a Graduate Certificate in Chinese and American Studies. Courtney also holds undergraduate degrees in Integrative Biology and Global Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her spare time, Courtney enjoys practicing kung fu, playing video games, and birdwatching.