Wednesday, April 24, 2019

50 Medical Prep Tips

A big part of preparedness is being healthy and fit and able to handle medical emergencies as they happen.  Here's how:
  1. Stay up to date on your vaccinations.
  2. Stay up to date with your annual physical/medical evaluations.
  3. Get your teeth professionally cleaned and have a dental exam every six months.
  4. If you have vision or hearing problems, fix them ASAP.
  5. If you wear glasses, consider surgery for fixable eye problems like cataracts/myopia/etc; not needing glasses at all is a good thing.
  6. Keep a written list of allergies, previous medical procedures, health history, current prescriptions, etc.
  7.  If you must take prescription medication, try to get 90 day prescriptions instead of 30 day prescriptions and refill them as soon as possible so you always have extra medications on hand.
  8. When you get new glasses/hearing aids/dentures, keep the old pair in reserve to use in case of emergency.
  9. Make fitness activities part of your everyday routine.
  10. Eat healthy as much as possible (many chronic diseases are due to the food you eat).
  11. Get a good night's sleep every night.
  12. Use whatever de-stressing methods work for you (yoga, meditation, deep breathing, etc); stress can have a negative impact on your health.
  13. Have a comprehensive first aid kit at home.
  14. Have a good first aid kit in your vehicle.
  15. Carry a small first aid kit in your EDC bag.
  16. Put first aid kits in your RV/boat/vacation cabin/etc.
  17. Review and restock all of your first aid kits regularly (annually or whenever you use items in them); replace old supplies or expired medications.
  18. Take a basic first aid/CPR/AED class.
  19. If you really want good emergency medical experience, take an EMT class then volunteer as an EMT for field experience.
  20. Stay on top of chronic health conditions (know about the latest research, make lifestyle changes if that have been proven to help, etc).
  21. For severe long-term medical conditions have a way to evacuate before a disaster strikes.
  22. Keep PPEs on hand (face masks, nitrile gloves, safety goggles, etc).
  23. Keep a medical library on your tablet, laptop. or in hard copy (include documents like 'When There is No Doctor', US Army Survival Manual, PDR, etc).
  24. Keep potassium iodide tablets on hand if your area is at risk for a nuclear/radiologial emergency.
  25. Have a way to purify water in an emergency.
  26. Stockpile sanitizing agents (everything from waterless hand sanitizer to bleach to alcohol).
  27. If you rely on medical supplies like oxygen, home health care, etc. figure out how you would access these things during and after a disaster.
  28. Hit up the internet and YouTube for information and lessons on all things medical-preparedness (how-to videos, medical preparedness resources, virtual surgery simulator, etc).
  29. Find out what your city/county plans to do for medically fragile/injured people during and after a disaster (some will have special medical shelters, some events may necessitate "pop up" trauma triage areas, etc).
  30. Teach everyone in the family how to call 911 and report an emergency.
  31. Take medical preparedness classes as they become available in your community (ie: Red Cross first aid, CERT, Stop the Bleed, etc).
  32. Take other emergency-medical-related classes as they come up (lifeguard training at the local pool, Search and Rescue courses, child safety seat installation class, etc).
  33. Be proactive when it comes to safety (wear a seatbelt, don't drive drunk, wear a bike or motorcycle helmet, etc).
  34. Stock meds that you don't normally use which would be useful in an emergency (EpiPen, Narcan, etc).
  35. Learn how to DIY medications in an emergency (using animal antibiotics, using older forms on insulin if newer forms aren't available, etc).
  36. When traveling, know where the nearest hospitals are and where the nearest pharmacies are.
  37. When traveling internationally, carry a vaccine card and get meds/vaccines for health issues specific to the area you will be traveling in (malaria, yellow fever, etc).
  38. Keep all of your medical records on a thumb drive for easy access after a disaster.  Also keep copies of your Will, Living Will, POLST form, medical power of attorney, etc on this thumb drive.
  39. Have health insurance (this will keep a medical emergency from bankrupting you).  When you travel, have health insurance that will cover you in foreign countries as well as medical evacuation insurance.
  40. If you will be away from your children, leave the following information for their caregiver: full name, doctor's contact info, Social Security number, health insurance card, emergency contact numbers for parents/grandparents, list of allergies, medical consent forms, health history and current health problems/medications.
  41. Keep spare assistive  devices on hand if you need them/often have guests that need them (cane, wheel chair, magnifying glass, wheel chair, etc).
  42. Stockpile bottled water (important for cleaning, staying hydrated, washing wounds, etc).
  43. After a disaster, keep hygiene top of mind (bury human waste if it can't be flushed, always wash your hands with soap and water, cook food thoroughly, etc).
  44. Know how to use herbal medicines (and grow these items in your garden!).
  45. Have a cash emergency fund at home (if ATMs and electronic payment systems are down you can use cash to pay for emergency meds and other necessities at local stores and pharmacies).
  46. Avoid common medical emergencies (prevent sunburn, avoid food poisoning, elderly people should stay off ladders, clear ice and snow from walkways to prevent fall injuries, have working smoke detectors, etc).
  47. Be able to get a victim of a life threatening emergency (stroke, heart attack, major trauma, etc) to definitive care as soon as possible (if roads are blocked have several evacuation routes planned, have the number to call the local fire department/ambulance if 911 is down, use your HAM radio to request help if there are no other communication systems working, etc).
  48. Wherever you are, always note building exits, where things like public access AEDs and fire extinguishers are kept in office buildings/commercial buildings, where first aid stations are located, what items you see that could be used for a sudden medical emergency, etc.
  49. Make your home safe for its occupants: put grab bars in the bedroom and bathroom if people need them, remove trip and fall hazards in your home, if someone in your home has mental health issues lock up your firearms, kid-proof the kitchen and bathroom, etc.
  50. Be proficient in pet/livestock first aid if you have animals (make first aid kits for these four-legged creatures as well).

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