FRIDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Hurricane Sandy continues to
bear down on the East Coast of the United States, with the latest
forecasts predicting a direct hit to mid-Atlantic or northeastern
states early next week.
So, officials are urging residents in those areas to start
making emergency storm plans now.
For starters, stock up on prescription medicines, special
medical supplies, nonperishable foods -- baby formula and pet
foods, too -- and emergency essentials in case the storm knocks out
power in your region or makes travel impossible, experts
"Have a family communications plan as well, in case you get separated during the storm," said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Decide where to meet and how you will remain in contact.
"Be prepared to be self-sufficient for one to five days without access to grocery stores," Glatter added.
David Bernard, chief meteorologist for
CBS News'Miami station, said a confluence of events could
potentially turn this storm into one rivaling the 1991 Halloween
Nor'easter, which killed 13 people and became the subject of the
best-selling book and movie "The Perfect Storm."
Referring to Sandy, Bernard said, "That's a lot of warm air, a
lot of heat, a lot of energy and of course we're deep into fall now
and we have an unusual strong jet stream dip with winter-like cold
air, and you put those two things together, that's the possibility
that is on the weather maps right now, and that could lead to a
powerhouse low pressure forming Sunday and Monday."
In other words, "it's kind of the worst of everything coming
together, winter and what the tropical season has to offer,"
Bernard said, according to a
Experts recommended drafting an emergency plan to ensure the
safety of your family, your home and your pets.
Tell local authorities about any elderly, disabled or bedridden
people who might need emergency assistance, they said.
If you live in an evacuation area, learn the route leading out
of danger, the National Weather Service advises.
Remain alert for storm watches and warnings, and if you're not
sure about your home's vulnerability, ask local authorities about a
potential storm surge or rising flood waters. Find out where your
community's emergency shelters are.
If you evacuate, Glatter said it's important to have a
ready-made kit or "go bag," including extra eyeglasses, sanitized
baby bottles and diapers. Diabetic patients should keep extra
insulin on hand and a ready supply of snacks in case their sugar
levels drop, he said. Store insulin or any liquid antibiotics on
ice or cold packs during power failures, he suggested.
Patients who use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea or chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may need an alternative power
source during the storm. This includes a CPAP battery pack, he
To be on the safe side, assemble a one- to two-week supply of
prescription medications, Glatter said. And "stay connected -- have
a list of your doctors with their contact information."
Keep emergency phone numbers near every phone and in your
cellphone "contacts" list.
"Have coins and cash available, too," Glatter said.
In terms of hurricane supplies, the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention suggests the following:
But no matter how hard the winds howl, "Don't panic -- try to
take things one step at a time," said Glatter. "Practice slow
abdominal breathing if you feel overwhelmed during the storm."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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