Hurricane Preparedness Action Plan For People With Lung Disease And CPAP Users
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When a hurricane strikes, you are put into a changed environment. However, if you have lung diseases or you are using oxygen at home, you may be affected more than others and need to have a plan how you will survive through those difficult days.
Your oxygen concentrator may not work, you may have to live without an air-conditioner exposing yourself to a hot humid weather and water damage may make your respiratory equipments inoperable. These unexpected changes create havoc for people with lung diseases.
Hurricane season is June 1 to November 30. You should plan ahead to develop your personal plan of action, in case you are affected by hurricanes, with the help of your physician. Following information is provided to assist you to develop a ‘Breathe Easy Plan for Hurricane’, which will help you survive through the natural disaster.
Call your doctor to set up an appointment to discuss hurricane preparedness and ask following questions:
If you use oxygen, call your medical supply company for following information:
Breathe Easy Plan for Hurricane’– Your Personal Action Plan
- You need to pre-register with the Lee County Public Safety Special Needs Program for Special Care Centers, managed by Lee County Emergency Management. Public Shelters do not accept patients with oxygen. Due to limited space, there is a waiting list for these centers.
- In Lehigh Acres, Sunshine Elementary School at 600 Sarah Avenue is the designated Special Care Center. This is the only center which is equipped with air-conditioning.
- Oxygen will be provided at Special Care Centers, concentrators are not necessary. However, you will need to bring your portable oxygen unit with extra oxygen if available.
- If pre-assigned to a Special Care Center, you must be accompanied by a caregiver.
- Call Special Needs Coordinator at 239-344-5401 for the registration form and further information.
Evacuation and transportation notification
As the hurricane approaches, listen to the radio and television for evacuation warnings. Once any evacuation warning is announced, please call 477-3600 or 344-5401 to verify if the evacuation order is in effect for your location. If you pre-registered for Special Care Center and advised previously that you can provide your own transportation, you will not receive a telephone call to evacuate. However, if you advised that you needed transportation, you will be called and once you are notified, you must be ready to evacuate when your transportation arrives.
If your physician determined that you will require hospitalization in the event of a hurricane, you will need a letter from your doctor stating such and the name of the hospital which you need to be taken. Without a letter on file, you will not be evacuated to a hospital in the event of a hurricane.
Assemble your ‘Breathe Easy Hurricane Survival Kit’ and take this with you if you leave for any other location, including a Special Care Shelter:
- A 14-day supply of inhalers, nebulizers and other essential medications.
- Back-up oxygen cylinder including cleaning supplies for respiratory equipments.
- A portable battery operated nebulizer machine.
- Buy a DC invertor, which would permit you to operate a nebulizer from a car cigarette lighter. Check with your respiratory equipment supplier for compatibility of the invertor with the nebulizer.
- Water and non-perishable foods for 2 weeks.
- A small cooler with frozen gel packs.
- Flashlight, radio and extra batteries.
- Blanket and pillows.
- Keep important papers including your driver’s license, health insurance cards, medication list, physician’s name and emergency phone number in a water-proof container.
After the hurricane
- CO is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if you breathe it. Every year, more than 500 people die from accidental CO poisoning.
- People with chronic respiratory disorders are more susceptible to CO poisoning.
- Never use generators, grills, camp stoves or other such devices inside your home, basement, garage or even outside near an open window.
- If you must use an alternative source of fuel or electricity, be sure to use it only outside and away from open windows.
- Most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.
QUESTIONS ABOUT A SLEEP ISSUE? LET’S TALK.
Imtiaz Ahmad, MD, MPH, FCCP
Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad is a highly qualified physician, Board Certified in Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. He has been actively serving the community of Lee County, Florida since 2004, with a strong focus on a proactive healthcare approach. Dr. Ahmad has received advanced training from some of the most prestigious institutions, including Harvard University, Cornell University, State University of New York at Brooklyn, and the University of Mississippi. SOMNAS is a medical facility that is committed to improving and maintaining the health of patients with sleep disorders. The expert team at SOMNAS is known for their compassionate and high-quality care. They offer unparalleled treatment and care to patients on the Gulf Coast of Florida, ensuring a better and healthier life for them.
Job Title: Board Certified in Pulmonary Medicine