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Weathering the Storm: Living With HIV During Times of Natural Disaster

October 31, 2012

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How Can I Prepare for a Disaster?

If you're putting together a kit to have ready in case of a disaster, here are some things to keep in mind. You should include several days' worth of medications in your kit, which will mean planning ahead when you refill your prescriptions. You can read up on planning ahead to have a stash of meds on hand. You might also write out a list of your medicines, including doses and schedules; and be sure to include your doctor's name and phone number. Some of these tips on traveling and HIV might help you get ready in the event of a natural disaster.

Aside from medications, you should put together a kit of the necessities, in case you're without power or access to resources for an extended period of time. Some of the best items to include are:

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  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Candles, with an ample supply of matches/lighters with lighter fluid
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Cell phone with accessories and chargers
  • Things to take with your meds: water, nutrition bars or other nonperishable snack items if you must take your meds with food

Ready.gov also has great resources to help you figure out what else might belong in your disaster supply kit.

Here are some ways you can protect yourself keep up-to-date on what's happening in the aftermath of a disaster:

  • If you have access to a computer and are a Twitter user, make sure to follow @cdcgov, @cdcemergency, @cdc_DrCPortier, @DrPeacockCDC, and @VisserCDC. If you happen to be in the New York City area, where Hurricane Sandy recently made a splash, follow @NYCMayorsOffice; if you're in Newark, make sure to follow @CoryBooker
  • If you have a working phone, there are several hotlines you can call. Remember, emergency officials will likely be overwhelmed during a natural disaster, so make sure you only call 911 in a true emergency!
    • Again, if you're in NYC, call 311, or visit www.nyc.gov/311.
    • New York State has set up a Hurricane Sandy hotline that can be reached at either (888) 769-7243 or (518) 485-1159.
    • You can contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency at (800) 621-FEMA (3362)
    • DisasterAssistance.gov also has lists of local and community resources that may help you find resources specific to your area

Being prepared for natural disasters does require some vigilance, and if you don't have an emergency plan, it's not the end of the world. Just use some common sense and take care of yourself. Remember, the worst of Hurricane Sandy is over now, so the best thing you can do is be an advocate for your own health and your own best interests -- and be prepared for when the next emergency strikes.

Mathew Rodriguez is the editorial project manager for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.

Follow Mathew on Twitter: @mathewrodriguez.


Copyright © 2012 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
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