Hurricane season just beginning and yet another monster storm is nearing the U.S. Forecasters say Irma could be the most powerful hurricane to strike the Atlantic coast in more than a decade.
Studies have shown that if disaster strikes, about half of adults in the U.S. do not have the resources and plans in place for a possible emergency. Add a cancer diagnosis into the mix, especially if you are in active treatment, and one of these storms could wreak tremendous havoc on your health.
Here are 10 tips to help cancer patients be prepared in the event of a hurricane:
Stock up on at least a 3-day supply of food and water.
- Set aside at least one gallon of bottled water per person, per day. If the person with cancer is taking medication that makes them extra thirsty, plan on having even more water.
- Stock up on foods that are easy to make and don’t need refrigeration
- Try canned soup, dry pasta, energy bars, peanut butter, crackers and canned fruit. And don’t forget that you’ll need a manual (non-electric) can opener.
- Talk with your doctor about any vitamin, mineral, or protein supplement to help you get the nutrition you need.
- If you have pets make sure you have enough food and water for them too, as well as any meds they need for aliments.
Make sure your meds supply is up-to-date and you have all you need for a few days or longer.
- Keep all medicines with you in a waterproof container like a large, gallon-sized freezer bag that can be sealed. Keep a copy of your insurance information and prescriptions in this bag as well.
- If it is not possible to have an extra supply of medications on hand, talk with your pharmacist or doctor about what else you should do to prepare. Keep in mind if the electricity goes out for a long time, it will be difficult to keep medications refrigerated.
- Obtain copies of your prescriptions. Your doctor may be able to give you copies of prescriptions that can be filled in emergency situations. If you are evacuated to a different city, a local hospital or retail pharmacy should be able to fill the prescription. Keep these in the waterproof bag with your medications.
Consider making a reservation at a nearby hotel BEFORE the storm hits.
Hotels typically have generators which means electricity. You can always cancel with notice if you don’t need to move out.
Keep cash on hand.
If you lose electricity, credit cards and debit card cannot be processed.
Stock up on flashlights, batteries, candles and matches.
Keep these in a specific spot so you know exactly where everything is when the time is needed. Think about purchasing a long butane lighter which can help you fire up your BBQ grill or gas stovetop safely and easily. Also make sure you have plenty of different battery sizes- AAA, Double AA, Cs, Ds and 9-volts.
Gas up your cars and buy a cell phone charger for your car.
After your cell loses its “juice”, you can always run out to your car to charge your phone.
Make an emergency travel bag.
The bag should contain extra clothes for you and your family, tooth brushes, toothpaste and other personal items. Also include a list of meds as well as the names, addresses and phone numbers of your doctors.
If you have an extra freezer, store bags of ice in it.
This way, if you do lose power, you can move those bags of ice in your refrigerator and freezer to help keep things from spoiling. Open and close the door to the refrigerator or freezer as little as possible so the cold air doesn’t escape.
Talk to your doctor about evacuation plans.
If you live in an area affected by the hurricane season, talk to your doctor about the course of action you should take if you need to evacuate your home. Your doctor may be able to advise you of local hurricane shelters that are able to adequately able to provide care to cancer patients. And if you’ve been advised to evacuate, then evacuate!
Connect with the NCI Contact Center
Call 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time in English or Spanish. After business hours, recorded information is available.
Online LiveHelp® chat
The NCI Contact Center LiveHelp program offers online assistance in English, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
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