Be storm ready; get your medications now

Published: Updated:
prescription savings

Healthy Hurricane Preparation

The importance of self-care before, during, and after the storm

Even if you’ve planned ahead, actually preparing for a storm as it threatens can be hectic and stressful. In the scramble to take care of your family, your home, and even your boat, self-care can be overlooked. And just like damage to property and the community, the mental, physical, and emotional toll of a hurricane can linger long after the storm has passed. So, to maintain your physical and mental health before and after a storm, follow these tips.


Create a checklist

Make a checklist of all the things you need to have and do before a hurricane. The disruption of your normal routine caused by the need to evacuate or by simply riding out a storm can be a major source of anxiety. And that stress can alter your sense of control. That’s why doing anything to provide a sense of control, such as making a checklist and sticking to it, can ease feelings of fear and anxiety.

Give yourself more time

While having two to three days of supplies on hand is recommended, it may not be enough. Instead, strive to have enough to sustain you and your family for as many as seven days. Plan now for any resources you need access to, such as special-needs shelters that support oxygen usage. Make sure to have a week’s supply of bottled water, batteries, and basic pain relievers, as well as a first aid kit and power equipment.

Plan for prescriptions

Be sure to stock up as feasible to ensure you have ample supplies of the prescription medicines and medical supplies you need. In addition, plan to be able to store them properly. For example, be sure to have extra ice on hand for any medications that require refrigeration.

Purchase non-perishable food

Stock up on non-perishable food items that won’t spoil and can be eaten without the need to be heated or refrigerated. That includes items such as canned goods, crackers, dried meats, dried fruit, and nuts. And if you’re buying any canned items, make sure to have a manual can opener as part of your hurricane supplies, as well.

Focus on yourself

Taking care of yourself before a storm will help you be stronger when it strikes. Eat right, get plenty of rest, don’t overexert, and try to stay as connected as possible with any formal or informal support groups you rely on, such as your church, a 12-step program, a therapist, or even your network of friends.

Be prepared for stress

Even if you do everything needed to prepare, the threat of an impending hurricane will put your body on alert. To ease that tension, do whatever your body needs to release that stress, whether it is crying, taking deep breaths, or simply moving around a bit. Helping your body relax will help you think more clearly and make better decisions.

Learn about telehealth

Before a hurricane threatens, see if your healthcare provider offers telehealth appointments so that you don’t have to figure it out in the chaos after a storm. Doing so could provide you the option of seeing your physician one-on-one from the comfort of a location you choose while avoiding the need to drive to a potentially crowded, busy office.


Understand your emotions

As your body recovers from the mental stress caused by its fight-or-flight mode during the hurricane, you may feel mentally drained, irritable, tired, sad, and lonely. That’s normal, as those are all common emotional responses. Remember that you’re allowed to be emotional after a storm, even if you didn’t experience any loss. Denying those emotions can hinder your ability to recover emotionally.

Offer support

Sometimes the best thing you can do to help is to simply be there for the people in your world who might need help. Just showing up, embracing the discomfort, and listening can provide far more comfort than any physical act. Most importantly, remember that sometimes grief just needs to be witnessed.

Avoid trauma triggers

While our minds can process that the storm is over and the danger has passed, our bodies may take longer to recover. That recovery can be further slowed by seeing damage or devastation

around the neighborhood or across town. By limiting your exposure to those trauma triggers, you can help your body recover faster, feel safe again, and get back to its normal state.

Share your thoughts

A natural disaster such as a hurricane can remind us how precious life is and cause a change in our priorities. If you’re having trouble focusing after the storm, whether it’s at work or in your everyday life, don’t be shy about sharing those feelings out loud. Sometimes, simply sharing your worries with others is all you need to understand your feelings are normal.

Keep moving

Just a little bit of exercise, such as jumping jacks or shaking it out to music, can greatly improve your mental health. Doing so helps your body and mind regain the sense of control that may be lost when the trauma response kicks in.

Take the time to breathe

When your body is in fight-or-flight mode, it can be difficult to slow down long enough to take a deep breath and relax. However, by doing so, you signal to your brain that the threat is gone, and that can help you ease the stress and relax.

Remember that help is available

It’s only natural to try to contain and compartmentalize your emotions after the trauma of a hurricane. But if your feelings interfere with your social interactions or your job, don’t be shy about asking for help. Check with your healthcare providers about the community support programs they offer, so you’ll know where to turn after the storm.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.