Friday, February 10, 2012

Chronic Illness Patients: "Be Prepared" Is Not just for Boy Scouts

In the past few years we have seen families affected by hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, and winter storms. But even people who live far away from major cities and the unpredictable weather of the oceans would be wise to make preparations in their homes for unexpected events like pandemics, floods, and other disasters both natural and man made. This can be even more critical for people with chronic illnesses like interstitial cystitis or painful bladder disease.

However, before you begin filling plastic bins with random items in your basement, it is important to consider what may happen in the event of a widespread emergency. In the case of a severe flu outbreak like a pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warn us to expect wide-spread closures of worksites and schools along with disruption of community services, including various forms of transportation. Here are some suggestions for how to be ready:
  • Experts suggest that you have two or more weeks of food and water on hand for each person (including infants) in your household. Don’t forget to include enough food and water for your pets.
  • Be sure to keep a sufficient supply of any prescription medications you take regularly and supplies for any medical devices you use (like catheters and glucose monitoring equipment).
  • Create a reserve of non-prescription medications like pain relievers, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, stomach remedies and vitamins. (Remember to store medications locked away from small children and to check expiration dates regularly.)
  • You will also want to store plenty of disposable, sanitary items for your family, including paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, heavy duty trash bags, soaps, cleansers, and alcohol-based sanitizer gel.
  • Finally, just as important as the supplies you gather, is creating a family emergency plan that includes family medical records and an emergency contact list.

To learn about other ways that you can lessen the impact of a pandemic or
disaster on your family, contact your local health department or print
information from the following websites—filing it in case you cannot access the
internet in an emergency:

American Red Cross website devoted to family emergency preparedness This US Department of Homeland Security website
includes a section called “Ready Kids,” which uses stories and games to
educate children on the importance of being prepared for emergencies.

Do you have a disaster preparedness plan?

Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate

Helping Yourself Is the First Step to Getting Well

For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.

For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive Bladder

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