When we hear that hurricane season is approaching each year, we usually prepare for the possibility of an event by readying our homes, stocking up on water, batteries, and non-perishable food. But it is equally important to look after our health and well-being.
In Puerto Rico, we are all aware that hurricanes can be destructive and can disrupt business operations —including pharmacies— in the days before, during, and after they make landfall. That’s why we must have a supply of first aid supplies, over-the-counter medications, and of course, prescription medications.
Let’s start by preparing the first-aid kit. This kit should include wet wipes, band-aids, bandages or gauze, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, scissors, sterilized syringes, and a thermometer.
As for OTC medications, we should include antacids, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, anti-diarrheal, laxatives, antihistamines, and medications to treat cold symptoms.
However, prescription medications are critical because they will help you manage your health conditions. Talk to your doctor to make sure you get a prescription with an adequate supply. Remember that you can use the Triple-S en Casa application to order both your prescription and OTC medications and have them delivered to your doorstep or preferred location.
Follow these five tips to make sure you have a medication plan in case of an emergency:
- Make sure you have at least a 2-to-3-week supply of your medications prior to the emergency. Talk to your doctor about getting your prescription filled on time, or to your pharmacist to coordinate your next refill.
- Learn how to store each of your medications. Keep in mind that some may require refrigeration and others may be damaged if exposed to light, humidity, or heat. Talk to your pharmacist in case you need this information.
- Make an accurate list of your medications, including the name, generic name, and dosage. In the event of an emergency, your family can use this list as a guide.
- Keep this list in an airtight plastic bag, along with a list of your doctors, caregivers, therapists, and their contact information.
- Check your first aid kit to ensure that you have any OTC medications you may need during or after the hurricane, such as headache or cold medications.
- Have a supply of drinking water to last 2 to 3 weeks so you can properly take your medicine.
- Find out how to get a refill of your medications when you are in a disaster area.
- Evacuate your home if instructed to do so by the authorities. It’s important to stay safe. Remember to bring your medications and the bag with the written information.
Emergencies can happen at any time, so remember to prepare year-round, not just during hurricane season.