With Hemophilia, I Needed Extra Preparations for Hurricane Ian

Columnist Jennifer Lynne offers emergency tips for those with bleeding disorders

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by Jennifer Lynne |

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Well, hello, Ian. Please go away.

As I write this, the track of Hurricane Ian has shifted south from Tampa, Florida, and toward my home in Punta Gorda. Not my first time at this rodeo. In 2004, Hurricane Charley, which was Category 4, devastated my hometown.

But this feels different. Charley was a wind event. Ian is expected to carry great flooding rains, storm surges, and wind. We’ll know by the time you read this just how much damage it’s done.

Public officials issued a mandatory evacuation for people living in my zone. My mom and I watched the Weather Channel and waited. I suggested we leave, but my mom wanted to stay. I agreed. But she is oxygen-dependent, and the thought of no electricity, elevator, or air conditioning in sweltering Florida heat concerned me. I booked a hotel in Orlando, just in case.

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As I write this, we woke up this morning to find Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel checking into a hotel two blocks from my house. Never a good sign. Public officials warned that if we decided to stay, emergency services would not be able to help us. Our exit path could’ve involved our rooftop as the streets would likely be flooded.

I told my mom we needed to leave for Orlando now. We packed up and headed out.

I panicked and took my medicine for hemophilia B and von Willebrand disease out of the refrigerator to take with me. Keeping the medications on ice would’ve been better. Most doctor’s offices, including the hemophilia treatment centers in Florida, were closed at this time. If I have an emergency, I’ll need to rely on my self-infusion skills or a hospital emergency room.

Natural disasters like Hurricane Ian require quick evacuations and decisions.

Tips for emergencies

Here are my five tips for those with bleeding disorders needing to evacuate:

  1. Have a plan and know how you’ll get help. I made an urgent last-minute decision based on the weather.
  2. This helpful checklist notes a range of tips for emergency preparations.
  3. Keep multiple ice packs in the freezer and an emergency bag with your supplies ready to go at all times. Include your travel letter and contact information for the specialty pharmacy that provides your medication.
  4. Keep as much medication on hand as your insurance company will allow. In Florida, you are entitled to a 30-day emergency supply of medications if the governor has issued a state of emergency.
  5. Make a list of treatment centers near your evacuation route so you will be prepared to seek care while away from home.

My anxiety lessened by the time we were somewhat safe in Orlando, but as I write this, there are many unknowns. I don’t know what we’ll find when we return home or if evacuating to Orlando was the correct decision; perhaps we’ll know by the time you read this.

It seems as if most of Florida is being affected by Hurricane Ian. I pray for my neighbors who stayed behind and everyone in the path of this storm.

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.


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