Wednesday, October 5, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: FACE TO FACE WITH A HURRICANE

When hurricanes are in the forecast, many demonstrate panic and fear the worst about the coming storm. The uncertainty of what a storm could cause may provoke anxiety. When we hear news of universities and cities initiating mandatory evacuation orders, the fear becomes a reality. It is very difficult to remain calm when our environment seems to be in control of our lives. Even if you are not affected by a mandatory evacuation, you still are faced with possible loss of electricity, decisions that have to be made to assure you have enough food and water to last the duration. Watching the weather forecasts on the TV or online helps some people feel calmer; for others it provokes greater anxiety. Know which one you are and adjust your behavior accordingly.

To alleviate some of the worry:
Be prepared.
Being prepared will make you feel better about the uncertainty; allows you to feel
confident that you did all that is necessary to weather the storm. Being prepared means stocking up on a reasonable (3-5 days per person) amount of food and water (5 gallons per person), having batteries for flashlights and matches for candles. Being certain you have the necessary prescription medications and a first aid kit; blankets and personal care items (hand cleaning wipes, as well as cleaning wipes). Have easy access to your fire extinguisher and if possible, have a battery operated radio. Turn freezers and refrigerators to coldest settings. This will help keep the food cold longer if you do lose power. Fill your bathtub with water so you will have water to flush toilets. But don’t go overboard. Hurricanes generally clear the area within a day, and major damage from roadways is cleared usually a day or two later.
Have a Family Plan
Many families live close by one another; others may be geographically separated. . Phone systems may not be able to function, and the Internet may be unavailable, so you need to plan ahead with extended family and friends. Be sure older parents or college student know how and when to hear from you and when they will contact you. The Internet may be more accessible than other means, so a posting to one’s wall or t witter could let others know you made it through safe.
Accept the Inevitable
It is easy to feel out of control when faced with nature’s fury. Nature is stronger than man, and all we can do is button down and hope for the best. Keep windows shut, move and store items from your yard or porch. Remember that an item left outside can become a flying object in high winds. Strong winds can send projectiles through windows and cause injury. If your windows aren't boarded up, stay away from them. Stay indoors and make sure your pets are indoors too! Don’t go out during the storm.
Know when you need to evacuate
Identify where you would go, if evacuation is mandatory. Be sure your vehicle has a full gas tank. If the area loses power, ATMs won't work, banks and gas stations will be closed. Be sure to have cash on hand to get you through a few days. Know what the
safe evacuation route is; a route where low-lying areas likely to flood can be avoided. If you choose to remain behind, you put yourself and your family at risk. You also endanger any first responder who has to rescue you if the situation gets dangerous.

Lastly, don't forget about your neighbors, young and old, who may need assistance preparing for the storm, or help with preparing for evacuation.

As always, Patient Centered Care personnel are available to answer questions or concerns. 


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