How to Prepare for a Hurricane

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Quick Guide8 First Aid Kit Essentials for Scrapes, Cuts, Bug Bites, and More in Pictures

8 First Aid Kit Essentials for Scrapes, Cuts, Bug Bites, and More in Pictures

How do I perform first aid for injuries?

First aid is extremely important when someone is exposed to waters potentially contaminated with human, animal, or toxic wastes.

  • If you live in a hurricane-prone area, take a community-based first aid course, such as those offered by the American Red Cross.
  • If you are injured, contact a physician if possible to determine the necessary type of treatment (for example, need for tetanus shot).
  • Immediately clean out all open wounds and cuts with soap and clean water.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment to wounds and cuts if available to discourage infection. Take care to assure the affected individual is not allergic to the compound.
  • If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.
  • If you are not sure what to do for yourself or someone else, seek help immediately.

What can I do to cope with mental stress after a hurricane?

The days and weeks after a hurricane may be emotionally difficult. In addition to an individual's physical health, the mental health of those affected by the hurricane need to be considered. If you or someone you know has been affected by a hurricane feel any of these symptoms acutely (suddenly), seek counseling. Otherwise, some sleeplessness, anxiety, anger, hyperactivity, mild depression, or lethargy are normal, and may resolve with time.

State and local health departments will help you find local resources, including hospitals or health care practitioners that you or someone you know may need.

Individual responses to a threatening or potentially traumatic event vary from person to person. Emotional reactions may include feelings of fear, grief, and depression. Physical and behavioral responses might include nausea, dizziness, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, as well as withdrawal from daily activities. Responses to trauma can last for weeks to months before people start to feel normal again.

Seek medical care if you or someone you know becomes injured, feels sick, or experiences stress and anxiety.

There are many things that can be done to cope with traumatic events including:

  • Keep as many elements of a normal routine incorporated into the disaster plans as possible, including activities to allay children's fears.
  • Be aware that there may be a lack of resources to resolve daily emotional conflicts. Try to resolve any major emotional conflicts ahead of time if possible.
  • Turn to family, friends, and important social or religious contacts to set-up support networks to help deal with the potential stressors.
  • Let children know that it is okay to feel upset when something bad or scary happens.
  • Encourage children to express their feelings and thoughts, without making judgments.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/13/2016

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