September/October 2018 GASPARILLA ISLAND 61
If you have a family member who has
special medical needs, your first thought
should be about evacuation. A place close to
a hospital or emergency clinic is best, and
anywhere away from storm surge is optimal.
You should have a plan in place long before
the first storm watches are even issued.
If you are unable to evacuate a medically
needy person, your first priorities are gathering
as much of their necessary medication as
possible, and obtaining a printed medical
history and printed information about all of
their prescriptions. If that information is
always kept on a cell phone or through a
patient portal at a doctor’s office, it may not
be readily available if there is no wi-fi or cell
phone service, not to mention a way to
charge your cell phone.
If the person requires oxygen, you can
purchase either a home generator to run the
machine or a portable oxygen concentrator
with multiple battery packs. Know in advance
how many hours of
battery time you
have; it is important
to test this.
diabetes, or people
on blood thinners
need to take extra
precautions. Even if daily medication
requirements are minimal, many people
know that their bodies don’t function the
same way a healthy body does. That means a
small cut for a healthy person turns into a real
problem for someone on blood thinners. An
injury to a diabetic hand or foot can turn
septic very quickly, and an inadequate food
supply to suit their blood sugar needs can
rapidly become a problem.
Clean drinking water is a must for people
with suppressed immune systems. Make sure
it is readily available to them.
Taking Care of Special
Needs Friends and
• Human medications that can be used by
dogs in an emergency include: Miralax,
Pepcid, Prilosec, Lomotil, benadryl, saline eye
and nose drops, Dramamine and hydrogen
peroxide. Check with your veterinarian at your
pet’s next medical exam to determine what
their thoughts are regarding an appropriate
dosage of each of these medications for your
• Ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen are
not recommended for most animals. Aspirin
has been given to some dogs on a short-term
basis by veterinarians, but overdose is far too
common to mess with any of these drugs as a
layperson. None of these drugs should be
administered unless you are told to do so by a
veterinarian. If you plan on staying in your home
through a storm, ask your veterinarian for some
mild sedatives for your pet beforehand, and
keep them in your kit.
• Keep a syringe handy for medicating
reluctant pets and for cleansing deep
• Do NOT let animals outside as soon as the
“all clear” is given, or leash-walk them if you do.
Animals will still sense the stress and fear in their
owners, and they will also feel the very low
barometric pressure. This could incite an animal
that normally stays around its home property to
run. If there is debris lying around or water in
ditches, do not let your pets out. Do not let them
swim in rain-swollen ditches and ponds.
Bacteria, snakes and alligators are all factors
with standing water. Keeping a pair of rubber
dog boots in your kit for your pet is also a very
good idea. Your dog may not keep them
on, but it’s worth a shot and much
better than dealing with an animal
with an infected or severely injured paw.