(NAPSI)—The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts there may be an above average hurricane season this year. Across the state, many will stock batteries, flashlights and bottles of water, but some may neglect the importance of having a plan in place if a family member gets sick during a natural disaster.
"Those in the path of a natural disaster are often so focused on other priorities that it's easy to forget that everyday life, including general illness, doesn't stop when serious storms are forecasted," said Dr. Zaid Fadul, a board-certified family physician and flight surgeon for the U.S. Air Force. "Having a hurricane plan must include planning for how you and your loved ones will receive general medical care for children's fevers, upper respiratory infections and other illnesses that may still occur."
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prioritize your family's health regardless of the weather. We asked Dr. Fadul for the top five ways to take care of your family's health before, during and after a storm. Here's what he said:
1. Mind Your Medications. In the event of a hurricane or other disaster, getting to your local pharmacy may be impossible, if it's open at all. Work with your treating physician or virtual care service to make sure your medications are stocked prior to an event and that you have a pharmacy locator in case of evacuation.
2. Check Your First-Aid Kit. First-aid kits are rarely thought about until they are absolutely needed. Make sure you have an ample supply of bandages, alcohol swabs, pain relievers, etc., to manage everything from cuts and scrapes to headaches. Keep dust masks nearby and even a whistle in case you need to signal for help.
3. Download The Right Apps. Get information from trusted sources like the Red Cross. Download the Red Cross mobile app at www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps to monitor more than 35 different emergency alerts and to help you find a shelter where food, beds and access to virtual health care are readily available.
4. Be Smart About Stress. Feeling anxious during an emergency is practically inevitable, but there are ways to manage stress and stay focused. Try breathing exercises (concentrate on just breathing for five minutes), tackling one item at a time on a to-do list, or even taking short breaks. When stress and anxiety are high, consider talking to a psychologist or therapist during the stressful days before, during or after a hurricane. Many are using telebehavioral health services like BetterHelp (BetterHelp.com) to seek professional help regardless of time of day or location.
5. Use Virtual Care. A child's fever or stomachache, or an adult's respiratory infection, is not going to wait for the storm to pass and may very well get worse if you do wait. In many areas, physicians will also have evacuated or care will be harder to access. This is where virtual care is a powerful resource for so many. Find out before a storm hits if you have access to virtual care services like Teladoc, by visiting Teladoc.com/DisasterPrep. Teladoc has thousands of board-certified physicians across the country who are ready to provide care. For emergencies, call 911, but for nonemergency illnesses, virtual care is a smart option to get quality treatment in a timely manner, even during a hurricane.
"While it's so important to prepare for storm damage, limited resources, and evacuation, it's also vital that every person in the path of a natural disaster prepare for health-related concerns. Advancements in technology, particularly with virtual care, have helped to remove barriers to care during a storm. Know your virtual care options and use them," added Dr. Fadul.
For further information, visit www.Teladoc.com/DisasterPrep.
Note to Editors: Although this article can be useful to anyone, it may be of particular interest to people who live in Florida and Texas.