For those with health issues, preparing for any type of disaster or crisis can be quite a challenge. I receive a lot of email from worried people, asking how they can prepare for disasters while at the same time dealing with a wide range of medical issues and health problems.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it; if you have significant health problems, you’re going to be at a major disadvantage. You’re going to have to work even harder than most people to be prepared to face the challenges associated with surviving a crisis or disaster situation.
I encourage you not to give up. I talk to a lot of healthy people who have already given up because they fail to put plans in place to protect themselves and their loved ones from the very real threats and disasters that are out there. The mere fact that you are reading this puts you ahead of most people. Even if you have health issues to contend with, your willingness to do something says a lot about your mental ability to cope with a crisis. It’s this will to survive that is often the most important factor during a survival situation.
Things you can do to prepare for disasters when you have medical problems.
Stock up on medication.
If you or someone in your family depends on any medication or medical device to stay alive, you need to make sure you have an ample stockpile stored up and ready to go during a disaster.
- Ask your doctor to give you an extra prescription. While some doctors may be reluctant to give you extra medication, it’s probably not a bad idea to discuss your concerns with your doctor.
- Find out if there are supplements to your medication that you can take to extend your supply. During times of crisis, you may have to find alternative ways to manage your health. Start researching what you can do to build your immune system, or supplement your medications during an emergency.
- Ask your doctor for samples at every appointment. Doctors often have loads of samples which they get for free from pharmaceutical companies looking to push their brand. These samples can be added to your emergency stockpile without costing you a cent.
Stock up on medical supplies.
Take an inventory of everything you use on a daily basis, and then start to build a stockpile of those supplies and a set of backups for your critical medical devices.
- If you rely on it, back it up. Consider adding backups of all your medical supplies to your preparedness stockpile. Things like extra eyeglasses, hearing aids and hearing aid batteries, wheelchair batteries, and oxygen should all be considered.
- Build an Emergency Medical Kit: Everyone, no matter what condition their health is in, should have an emergency medical kit on hand at all times. What goes into your kit will vary depending on your state of health, but having one is an essential part of being ready.
Find out what Emergency plans your doctor has in place.
If you undergo routine medical treatments at a hospital, talk to your doctor about what emergency plans they have in place. Work with them to identify back-up service providers that you can incorporate into your personal emergency preparedness planning.
Learn how to manage your condition.
While your ability to manage your health without medical assistance will depend on your unique situation, start looking into what you can do to manage your medical issues without a doctor. During a crisis situation, the more you know about treatments, and alternative ways to manage your health, the greater your chances are of surviving a disaster.
- Ask questions at every appointment. Ask your doctor what you should do during an emergency where medical help and medication may be hard to find. Ask, for example, if you can stretch out your supply of medication by skipping every other dose, or cutting your pills in half.
- Look into emergency medical classes. Find out how you can treat yourself or your loved ones during an emergency where medical assistance may not be available. The Red Cross and a lot of local hospitals offer a number of different life-saving medical courses to the general public.
- Research, research, research. You are your number one advocate when it comes to your health, take the time to research and learn everything you can about your illness or medical conditions.
Keep detailed records with your emergency supplies.
Ask your doctor for copies of all your medical records, medications, and treatment plans. During a disaster, where you may have to be treated by someone unfamiliar with your condition, these records can help first responders and doctors better treat your condition.
- List the names (including generic names) of any prescription medications you’re taking and the doses.
- Have detailed records of past treatments and current treatment plans.
- Have a list of all emergency responders, hospitals and treatment centers in your area.