The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season started June 1, and it will last until November 30. If you suffer from chronic lung disease and live in a hurricane-prone city, early preparation is essential. Luckily, approaching hurricanes give plenty of warning, which allows you to form an emergency plan in advance.
Websites like Ready.gov have guides available for general hurricane preparation. Here, we offer specific guidelines to help you account for your lung health needs during a hurricane.
How to Prepare for a Hurricane With Chronic Lung Disease
- Medications Have an adequate supply of your medications — including as-needed and rescue drugs. If you have only a few days’ worth of medicine left, get the prescriptions refilled before a hurricane arrives. Have a master list of prescriptions, health insurance information and medical provider contact information with you in a dry, safe place.
- Oxygen Are you oxygen-dependent? If the answer is yes, you need to have a backup oxygen tank available. You can call your home oxygen supplier to request one. Ask your supplier if they will be able to deliver additional tanks if you run out during an emergency.
- Respiratory Devices Do you need electricity for any respiratory devices — including oxygen concentrators, nebulizers, CPAP or BiPAP? If the answer is yes, determine backup power sources for your equipment. Most oxygen concentrators will run off a generator, and some nebulizers are battery-powered. Talk to your doctor about the devices you have and ask about alternatives you could use during an emergency. Before a hurricane, contact your utility company to let them know you have a medical device that requires electricity. The company can place your area on a priority list for repairs if you lose power.
- Food Put together a non-perishable food supply with proteins, veggies and fats, along with plenty of water. Stock up on canned chicken and fish, beef jerky, canned vegetables, dehydrated veggie chips, nuts, seeds and nut butter. For items like beef jerky and veggie chips, look for natural, organic options without added sugars and extra ingredients.
- Evacuation Plan Be smart about evacuating when necessary. Know the shelters in your area, including the ones that can handle special needs like oxygen. If you are worried about staying at home, arrange plans to stay with a friend, relative or in a hotel at a location out of the storm’s path.
How to Manage Stress During a Hurricane
Sitting through a hurricane can be stressful. Acute stress responses can cause rapid, shallow breathing, hyperventilation and feelings of panic. You may experience difficulty taking in enough oxygen and breathing properly. Try to keep your stress levels down, because seeking outside medical help could be more challenging during a hurricane. Practice breathing exercises, engage in a peaceful activity like reading or repeat a calming mantra to yourself if you feel upset.
Finding Chronic Lung Disease Treatment After the Storm Passes
While an emergency like a hurricane is stressful for a time, living with chronic lung disease is stressful every day. Here at Lung Health Institute, our goal is to help you Breathe Easier™. To that end, we offer cellular therapy treatments to reduce lung inflammation, and Anti-Inflammatory Initiative™ (AI²™) wellness plans to reduce full-body inflammation. If you are interested in learning more about our services, contact a patient coordinator today.