Before a hurricane strikes, don’t forget to consider your health and medical needs.
Talk to your doctor before a storm to help you develop a hurricane plan. Some medical conditions, such as those on dialysis or people needing refrigerated medication, require special provisions to avoid complications brought on by the storm.
Make sure you have at least a two-week supply of your medications when the storm hits so you will have enough should pharmacies be closed. Health insurers typically lift their restrictions on refills when a hurricane warning is posted 48 hours before a storm.
You also might want to consider buying a 90-day supply of drugs to coincide with the peak of hurricane season, which is usually August to September. Hospitals are generally not able to dispense medication to the public following a storm.
General health information
An oxygen-dependent patient will need backup electrical power for his or her concentrator, otherwise backup oxygen cylinders will be needed. Be sure to ask your oxygen vendor what its plan is to replenish your oxygen following a storm.
Insulin-dependent patients will need backup electrical power to keep insulin refrigerated.
Pregnant women — those at high risk or at 36 weeks or beyond — should talk to their doctor about whether they should seek shelter at a hospital.
Dialysis patients will need to receive dialysis just prior to the storm and pre-schedule an appointment for post-storm dialysis.
Check whether your dialysis center has a generator to operate after a storm.
Hospitals are not an option for those seeking general shelter during a hurricane, with the exception of pregnant women with a doctor’s referral.
If constant electrical power is a requirement for your medical needs, you might want to consider staying somewhere that has backup electrical power from a generator. This may mean leaving the area in the path of the storm.
One possibility is staying in a special needs shelter. All patients need to be pre-registered and must meet certain eligibility requirements.
Special needs shelters (call in advance to register):
Palm Beach: (561) 712-6400
Martin: (772) 287-1652
St. Lucie: (772) 461-5201
Okeechobee: (863) 462-5777
Disabled transportation help:
Palm Beach: (561) 649-9848, www.palmtran.org (click ‘connection’ link on left)
Martin: (772) 288-5695, www. martin.fl.us (click ‘Emergency Information,’ then ‘Special Needs’)
St. Lucie: (772) 464-7433, www.treasurecoastconnector. com
Okeechobee: (863) 357-9900