Sunday, October 6, 2019

100 Medical Preps

Any time is a good time to get your medical preps in order.  Here are some things to do to prepare for your next medical emergency:

  1. Be sure all of your immunizations are up to date.
  2. Be sure all of your health metrics are in order (weight, blood pressure, A1C, cholesterol levels, etc).
  3. Get your advanced medical directive forms (living will and medical power of attorney)/POLST form (if necessary) done then scan copies of these documents into your computer.  Also keep digital copies of these forms on your cell phone and backed up on a thumb drive.
  4. Exercise. Every. Single. Day.
  5. Eat healthy 95% of the time.
  6. Keep an updated list of your medical history, allergies, and medications on your computer, cell phone, and backed up on a thumb drive.
  7. Be aware of any possible negative interactions your medications can have (examples here and here).
  8. Take a basic first aid class (first aid, AED, CPR).
  9. Take a Stop the Bleed class.
  10. Take a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class.
  11. Take a wilderness first aid class.
  12. Take an advanced first aid course (EMT class, tactical first aid, etc).
  13. Take a lifeguard class, even if you don't intend to work as a lifeguard.  This class teaches emergency rescue skills as well as water-related emergency medical skills.
  14. Put together a comprehensive first aid kit for your home.
  15. Put together a comprehensive first aid kit for your vehicle.
  16. Put together a good first aid kit for your EDC bag (don't forget to add a couple day's worth of your necessary prescription meds to this kit).
  17. Put together first aid kits for other situations you may find yourself in like a kit for your boat, for your RV, for your backpack, for your college student, etc.
  18. Have medical-related items on hand specific to your location (suntan lotion, bug spray, KI pills if you live near a nuclear plant, etc).
  19. When you get new medical devices, keep your old devices to use as a back up in an emergency (hearing aids, glasses, dentures, etc).  
  20. Stockpile necessary medications and medical supplies (but don't forget to rotate these so they don't get old and expire).  These should include prescription medications, vitamins, hearing aid batteries, contact lens supplies, denture supplies, etc.
  21. Have health insurance (medical, life, long-term care, etc).
  22. Keep up with your dental health (regular cleanings, fix any problems immediately so they don't turn into big problems, brush and floss regularly, etc).
  23. Keep up with your mental health care too.
  24. If you or someone in your household has a medical condition that requires electricity at all times (on a vent or other medical device that must be powered all the time) consider investing in a generator and extra fuel to use in emergencies.
  25. Have your hearing and vision checked regularly and fix any problems as soon as possible.
  26. Consider corrective eye surgery (like LASIK or cataract surgery) if this will improve your vision and let you get rid of the necessity for glasses or contacts.
  27. Keep medical texts on your computer/cell phone/ebook reader for further study/use during an emergency/etc.  Examples here, here, and here.
  28. Consider a volunteer position/career in the medical/healthcare field (such as a volunteer EMT or becoming a nurse, paramedic, or doctor).
  29. Spend some of your free time studying medical/health preparedness topics online (examples here and here).
  30. Volunteer with agencies that will expose you to emergency medical training such as the Red Cross, FEMA, local fire/EMS services, CMRT, etc.
  31. Learn about medicinal herbs and consider growing some of these plants in your garden.
  32. If you live in a remote area which would require an air evacuation for a medical emergency, see if your local air medical service offers an annual membership which would significantly reduce the cost of an air evac.
  33. If you backpack in remote areas, consider carrying an emergency locator beacon to use in the event of a medical emergency.
  34. If you travel internationally, consider buying international medical insurance as well as international medical evacuation insurance before you head off on vacation.
  35. Always be able to manage your severe medical conditions (carry an EpiPen or Benadryl or asthma inhaler or other emergency medication you can use until you can reach definitive care).
  36. Teach everyone in the household how to call 911 from the oldest visitor (make sure they know your address) to the smallest child.  They should be able to report the type of help needed, the location, a general overview of the problem, and be able to provide additional information as requested by the dispatcher.
  37. If you have a pool, make it kid (and trespasser) proof.  Have a high, lockable fence, a pool cover or alarm, and rescue items such as a flotation device or pole.
  38. Any time you are in open water (swimming, boating) be sure everyone wears an appropriate life jacket (many open water drownings, especially when people are "good swimmers", are due to cold water shock).
  39. Make your home "falls proof".  Falls are far and away the most common cause of deaths and injuries for senior citizens.
  40. If you have small kids at home (or small kids visiting you like the grandchildren) be sure to baby-proof your home as well.
  41. Ditto pet-proofing your home if you have pets or pet visitors.
  42. Always ensure that your home has working smoke and CO detectors as well as working fire extinguishers (better to prevent a medical emergency than treating it after the fact).
  43. Protect your firearms in a way that makes them accessible to you yet inaccessible to thieves or visitors.
  44. Always have appropriate safety gear on hand for whatever activities you are doing (ie: life jackets on boats, eye and ear protection when you are shooting, gloves and eye protection when working with yard equipment, etc).
  45. Consider having PPEs on hand to use in the event of an emergency or clean up (gloves, face masks, rubber boots, Tyvek coveralls, duct tape, etc).
  46. If you regularly take prescription medications, put them in a daily reminder pill container or put reminder alarms on your cell phone so you don't overdose (surprisingly, many seniors overdose on their meds simply because they forgot they already took them so they take a second or third dose thus causing a medical emergency).
  47. If someone in the home is suicidal, consider: getting them appropriate long-term help, locking up guns/knives/rope/medications that they could use to commit suicide, and contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  48. Always lock up narcotic medications; these are a prime target for thieves and even visitors with an addiction problem.
  49. Know how to provide pet first aid.
  50. Know how to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
  51. Wear a medical alert bracelet or keep pertinent medical info (allergies, medical conditions) on your cell phone's lock screen.
  52. If you travel to foreign countries, get vaccines appropriate to the countries you will be in and also regularly check the CDC's Travel Health Notice page.
  53. Consider putting appropriate medical and first aid apps on your cell phone.
  54. Dispose of unneeded medications appropriately so they don't fall in the wrong hands and poison someone.
  55. If you find pills that you can't identify, you can either input the color and text/number into Google or use one of the many "pill finder" websites to determine what it is.
  56. Have a good-sized emergency fund.  Money can be used to pay for gas or lodging near a hospital, an emergency taxi or Uber ride to the hospital, paying unexpected co-pays, buying medication, evacuating out of a disaster area, etc.
  57. If you can't afford necessary medication, look into other options like free samples from your doctor, buying them at Walmart or Costco, or using prescription assistance services.
  58. If you need medical care (NOT emergency care) but can't afford it, consider medical and dental tourism.
  59. If you need emergency medical care go to your nearest hospital emergency room (not a quick care place or something like that).  Emergency rooms must stabilize and treat you even if you can't pay (you will, however, receive a boatload of bills for your care after the fact.  When you receive these bills, consider these options for paying them).
  60. Know the difference between a medical emergency which requires a hospital and an urgent medical need which may only need a clinic.
  61. If you have a chronic disease that can be reversed with diet and exercise, give it a shot.  Obviously not all diseases can be reversed but if yours can, not being tied to a lifetime of medications is a good thing.
  62. Prepare for flu season.  Get a flu shot, stock up on kleenex and canned soup/Pedialyte/7 up, stock up on over-the-counter flu meds (Tylenol, TheraFlu, cough syrup, etc), stay away from sick people, and brush up on natural remedies for the flu.
  63. Have someone (and a back-up someone) who can: accompany you to the hospital, feed your pets if you are in the hospital, pick up your kids and/or care for them if you end up in the hospital, etc.
  64. Prevent a medical emergency (or a more severe than necessary medical emergency) by: always wearing a seat belt, never driving drunk, putting your kids in appropriate child safety seats, etc.
  65. Always use appropriate sports safety gear (bicycle or motorcycle helmets, avalanche backpack, football pads and helmets, etc).
  66. Be prepared for common emergencies that you may encounter (have glucose tabs on hand if you or a loved one is diabetic, keep a stash of electrolyte replacement tablets/mixes with you when backpacking, etc).
  67. Keep necessary medical devices at home if someone needs them (like a blood pressure monitor, AED, cane or walker, etc).
  68. Donate blood.  It can be a lifesaver for someone in need and sometime in the future that someone in need may be you or a loved one.
  69. Be an organ donor.  Again, giving a life-saving organ to someone when you won't be needing at anymore is a great way to help others out.
  70. Put together a bug out bag (BOB) or Go Bag in case you or a loved one has a medical emergency and ends up in the hospital (a bit of chest pain can end up in a multi-day hospital stay with very little notice).  Include a change of clothes, toiletries, entertainment options, cell charger, etc.
  71. Be sure to add plenty of sanitation supplies to your preparedness stockpile.  Soap, waterless hand sanitizer, Wet Wipes, Clorox wipes, rubber gloves, bleach, etc.
  72. Have alternate methods to get to the hospital if necessary: ambulance for life threatening emergencies, a friend to drive you/Uber app/Lyft app/bus schedule for less urgent emergencies, etc.
  73. See what free and cheap medical/safety things are available in your community: health fairs, free vaccination clinics, free child safety seats through the local hospital, free smoke detectors and blood pressure checks at the fire department, etc.
  74. Consider keeping "old fashioned" health care items on hand: hot water bottles, heating pads, netie pot, acidophilous, castor oil, lemon/ginger/honey, etc.
  75. Be sure both your street name and house number is large and clear and easy for an ambulance to find.
  76. If you or a loved one has a disability, be sure to prepare accordingly for a medical emergency.
  77. If you must be in regular contact with your medical or mental health care provider, ask them what their disaster emergency plans are (how would you contact them in a disaster, how could you transfer your medical records if necessary, how would you renew your prescriptions if their clinic was washed away in a flood, etc).
  78. Scan all of your medical records into your computer and keep back up copies of these (you can request your medical records from your provider).  Also keep copies of your admit/discharge paperwork, your vision/glasses prescriptions, etc.
  79. Learn how to prepare for the most common natural disasters in your area.  By studying how to respond to common disasters you will learn how to avoid common pitfalls (like knowing that fallen live electrical wires can be a danger during floods and windstorms, that "earthquake proofing" your house can keep large furniture from falling on you, etc).
  80. Consider becoming a licensed HAM radio operator.  During disasters when you can't call 911 for emergency medical assistance, HAM radio may be the only way to call for help.
  81. Encourage your workplace/gym/hobby and activity areas to step up their medical emergency preps.  AEDs placed in public places like gyms and golf courses save lives, making your workplace a hard target can prevent mass shootings, shooting ranges should have comprehensive medical kits as well as safety measures to prevent accidental or random discharges, etc.
  82. If you have kids in school, ask how medical care--from providing prescription medicine to your child to medical emergencies and severe food allergies--would be handled by the school.  Schools should have policies for all of these things which you will want to know about sooner rather than later.
  83. Teach everyone in your household how to do the medical preps on this list--if you are the only one who knows where the first aid kit is or how to perform CPR and you are the patient, you will want everyone else in the household to know this important information as well.
  84. Everyone else in the household should also know what each other's allergies are, each person's basic health history, and how to respond to the most likely medical emergencies (like what to do if grandma's blood sugar tanks, if dad has chest pain again, and if little brother who has a sever bee allergy gets stung).
  85. Use your cell phone for many medical needs: take photos of each of your prescription bottles, take photos of rashes or injuries so you can show the doctor any changes, use your phone's stopwatch to time contractions, texting 911 if calls aren't going through, etc.
  86. Learn about OSHA requirements for your job site and what safety procedures your employer should be following (and how to file a complaint if you are working in unsafe conditions).
  87. Learn what to do before, during, and after an active shooter event.
  88. Learn how to recognize and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, a common household killer.
  89. Learn how to prevent and respond to household fires, another common household emergency.
  90. Keep the number of your local or national poison control center on your cell phone.  In a possible poisoning emergency, quick help can be essential to saving a life.
  91. Put an ICE (in case of emergency) contact on your cell phone's lock screen.  This can be a spouse, parent, or friend that you would want contacted if you are severely injured or unconscious.
  92. When traveling, always know the location of the closest hospital, 24-hour pharmacy, and fire department/ambulance service.
  93. Learn how to respond to a car accident.
  94. Practice situational awareness, many medical crisis can be averted or mitigated by being aware of what is happening around you.
  95. If you have an addiction--alcohol, drugs, etc--take steps to fix this.  Not only will this save you money and perhaps avert financial/legal/social problems, but your overall health will be greatly improved as well.
  96. Everyone, young people especially, should take steps to improve their health and safety to avoid medical issues either now or in the future.  Sexual health, binge drinking, anorexia, assault, spring break, college safety--there are a number of situations that young people can find themselves in that can have serious impacts on their health and safety.
  97. Everyone should be able to identify the most common types of poisonous plants in their area.
  98. Everyone should also be aware of current health threats on the global level which could trickle down to the local level.  Prepare accordingly.
  99. When you travel, take a few minutes to Google around and find out what the most common types of health threats are at your destination (Dengue fever, shark attacks, alligators, tainted alcohol, etc).
  100. Prevent food poisoning, it is a not uncommon medical event which happens at home, in restaurants, at picnics, etc.

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