WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- As the most powerful
storm to hit the U.S. Northeast in a generation rolled toward
Canada Wednesday morning, it leaves behind at least 51 dead and
millions without power in the cities and towns that were unlucky
enough to be in its path.
Sandy -- which started as a hurricane until being dubbed a
post-tropical cyclone Tuesday -- made landfall near Atlantic City,
N.J., Monday evening, flooding much of that city as 80 mph winds
drove seawater inland,
The New York Timesreported.
Overall, an estimated 6.8 million people across the Northeast
and Mid-Atlantic region were still without power Wednesday morning,
including much of New York City. The
Associated Pressreported Wednesday that 2.04 million people
across New York state were without power. In New Jersey, more than
2 million people are without electricity, as are 933,000 in
Pennsylvania, 497,000 in Connecticut, 145,000 in Maryland and
155,000 in Massachusetts.
Hundreds of bridges and roads are still impassable or closed
throughout the region and more than 16,000 flights had been
cancelled at major airports as of Wednesday, the
Washington Postreported. Eqecat, a company that predicts the
costs of catastrophes for insurance companies, said Sandy's
economic damage could total $10 billion to $20 billion, the
Important access tunnels to New York City were flooded or shut
down, as was the transit system for the nation's largest city. The
subway system, which was flooded at the storm's peak, is not
expected to open for days, according to the
News reports have estimated the death toll from the storm so far
at 51, including: a man and a woman in Morris County, N.J., who
died when a tree fell onto their car; two boys in North Salem,
N.Y., ages 11 and 13, who perished when a tree collapsed on their
house; and Claudene Christiane, a crew member of the tall ship
H.M.S., which sank off the North Carolina coast.
For the millions now without power, preparation will have been
key, said one expert.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox
Hill Hospital in New York City, said its important to have
stockpiles of prescription medicines, special medical supplies,
nonperishable foods -- baby formula and pet foods, too -- as well
as emergency essentials.
"Be prepared to be self-sufficient for one to five days without access to grocery stores," Glatter said.
Experts also advised that local authorities must be told about
any elderly, disabled or bedridden people who might need emergency
assistance. Find out where your community's emergency shelters
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. People with diabetes 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 suggested the following:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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