The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Hurricanes, twisters, earthquakes, lightning strikes…all natural disasters that can easily knock out electricity and much worse. In some of these instances, you need to suddenly leave the comfort of your home or work to be safe and sound. Making sure that disasters don’t totally devastate your world only takes some thought and planning. After all, forearmed is forewarned. So if you have any type of lung disease, need to use constant oxygen for treatment and multiple medications, what can you do to make sure you that are prepared for the worst? What can you do to be ready for a disaster when you have lung disease?
Lung Disease Explained
There are many people with lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema who struggle constantly to breathe day in and day out. Symptoms run the gamut from shortness of breath to constant coughing to wheezing and more. Oxygen and medications can help keep symptoms at bay as well as treatment such as stem cell therapy. But when disaster suddenly strikes, you need to be ready to pick up and go. You need to be prepared in case the electricity gets knocked out and your oxygen concentrator no longer works. Depending on the disaster, such as with a hurricane, it is also possible that your respiratory equipment can become damaged due to water and humidity. And it is always smart to have extra back-up medication and inhalers on hand.
Preparing for the Worst
If you live in an area that has the potential for hurricanes and tornadoes, it is a sound plan to have a disaster–preparedness kit packed and ready to go. Here are some tips on how to be prepared for the worse when you have lung disease:
- Two-week supply:It is like an insurance policy to have a 2-week supply of prescribed medication and inhalers on hand. Not only can you be displaced from your home for a longer than expected time period but you can also suffer the respiratory effects from the disaster itself. You might need your inhaler more often or need to increase the dosage. Having a ready supply of extra medication can be a life-saver.
- Extra cylinders: In addition to extra medication, it is also sound advice to have extra canisters of oxygen available. You can coordinate with your medical supply company. And don’t forget to make sure you also have any additional supplies, including any equipment to keep all equipment and supplies clean and free of contaminants.
- Additional power: It is always smart to have on hand extra extension cords, back-up battery and any adaptors. An alternate power source is key and sometimes it is possible to use a 12-volt battery with a sine wave inverter. Another contingency plan would be to use a proper power cord that plugs one end into a cigarette lighter and the other into your medical device. At any rate, it is always smart to check with your medical device manufacturer for the best way to handle alternative power sources for your particular machine.
- Get on the list: Before disaster strikes and you lose power, you can actually contact your electric company and be placed on a priority list. That is if you can document the fact that you need electricity for medical equipment for health reasons.
Whatever lung disease you have with associated treatment, all it takes is a little preparation to safeguard your health during a disaster that is out of your control.