Disaster Planning for People with Chronic Disease

–safety tips courtesy of Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and wildfires, can be stressful and devastating for persons living with a chronic disease. Learn disaster planning safety tips to help reduce the risk of illness or serious health complications in a disaster.

  • Be prepared for a disaster. Make an emergency plan and have a ready-to-grab survival kit on hand.
  • Maintain at least a three-day supply of water, food, and medicine.
  • If you need to leave your home, know where you will go (e.g., family member’s house, shelter) and be prepared to leave quickly. Have medicines, medical records, insurance information, and healthcare provider’s information with you.
  • Keep medicines, supplies, and equipment out of the heat and in a safe and waterproof location. If you use medical equipment that requires electricity, learn How to Prepare For and Manage Power Outages.
  • Ask your doctor for an extra supply of prescribed medicines, and have on hand a list of all prescription medicines (including name, dose, and pharmacy information). If staying in a shelter or temporary housing, tell the staff about your health condition, special needs and any medicines you are taking.
  • Check whether the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP) has been activated after a disaster. This free service helps people get medicine, medical supplies, medical equipment and vaccines that were lost, stolen, or damaged due to the disaster. Call 855-793-7470 to enroll or visit the EPAP website.
  • Disaster planning includes taking steps to avoid getting an infection or illness. Clean up, disinfect, and wash your hands often, and stay away from moldy or dirty places. If you do not have soap and clean water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes. Seek immediate medical care if a wound develops redness or swelling, or if you have other signs of infection, such as fever, increasing pain, shortness of breath, confusion, disorientation or high heart rate.
  • During or after a natural disaster, it may be hard to find the food that you usually eat, particularly if you are on a special diet. Try to eat as healthy as possible by choosing foods that are lower in added sugars and salt.
  • If you feel overwhelmed, reach out to family, friends, support groups, or a healthcare professional for support. Engaging in physical activity can help you to reduce stress, manage your condition and cope with a natural disaster.
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