Hurricane health prep ahead of the storm

Hurricane health prep ahead of the storm

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Flashlights, water, batteries, and non-perishables are probably at the top of your hurricane prep list but disaster relief professionals say first aid kits are equally as important.

Making sure that the kits are not expired or damaged should be a part of every hurricane supply checklist.

Dr. Graham Cates, Director of Medicine at the Family Medicine Center gives first aid kits a 10 out of 10 to emphasize the value of having medical supplies on-hand in the case of an emergency where external assistance may not be possible.

“I think it’s more important not just to have a first aid kit, but be prepared, obviously, for the hurricane and where we talk about health and preparedness for the hurricane.

“Yeah, certainly a first aid kit is important with all of the basic things that you would need in the event that you, unfortunately, were injured or in a hurricane or something happens where you really have a laceration or a cut or something of that nature. And that’s one important component.

Making sure prescribed pharmaceuticals are in possession of those that need them is also critical. Cates recommends that people have at least a week’s worth of their medications and in some instances a month’s worth depending on the projected intensity of the storm.

However, if no one in the household is on prescription drugs, Cates says it’s a wise idea to have other pain relief items in storage.

“There are also just some simple over-the-counter things that you want to make sure that you have at home, at home as a part of your first aid kit.

“So, things for headache, Tylenol or Panadol or some Advil or Aleve in the event that obviously you become feeling unwell with a headache or body pain or something of that nature.”

It’s often due to a rare event of unfortunate circumstances that an individual finds themselves in a medical emergency during a hurricane. However, Cates says that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. He has this advice for those that may find themselves in those positions.

“If you have a minor injury, for example, and you’re not able to go and get medical attention, there are a couple of things that are important. One obviously is if it is a laceration or a cut that you have on the surface of your skin.

“The first rule of thumb is always to apply direct pressure. We know that applying direct pressure to this area will help to stop the bleeding and maintain the pressure on that area until the bleeding is stopped”

“And then once that is completed, you can reassess and determine, okay, is this something that I now need to call my health care provider, I need to call emergency services? Or is this something that I’m actually going to be able to manage at home by putting a Band-Aid or putting a dressing on it in the interim period of time until you are able to get to your health care provider?” the physician said.

Preparation and having the medical supplies needed to ride out the storm can be the difference between life and death in some situations. On the other hand, Cates advises persons to exercise discretion in the decision to call emergency services depending on the severity of the ailment or injury.

Cates added: “If obviously, you’re having something which is more serious or life-threatening, then absolutely you need to call 911, go through the necessary emergency channels to be able to make sure that you can get the help that you need.”