CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – With the start of hurricane season and experts predicting another above-normal hurricane season, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) is encouraging members to take steps now to protect their health. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials have predicted an above-normal 2005 hurricane season, possibly on par with last year’s historically destructive storms.
"As people prepare for this year’s hurricane season, BCBSNC wants to make sure its members know what they need to do to manage their health needs if a hurricane should hit," said Bob Greczyn, president and CEO of BCBSNC. "Hurricanes can disrupt health services and interfere with people getting the care they need. BCBSNC is working to help our members take steps now that will keep them healthier later."
BCBSNC shares the following tips on how to prepare for a hurricane:
- Be sure to have an ample supply of your prescription medicines on hand before a hurricane arrives.
- Gather medical records such as paper prescriptions for vital medications and children’s immunization records in case your doctor is unreachable.
- Have back up plans in place for medications that must be refrigerated (ice, cooler, etc.).
- Be prepared to keep all medications dry, e.g., have zip lock bags to protect medicines if your home is damaged by wind or water.
- Have a battery-powered radio or TV ready to keep abreast of the latest storm developments.
- Use caution when operating portable heaters and cooking devices – carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and deadly. Be sure you have adequate ventilation at all times.
- Loss of air conditioning can lead to dehydration. Have a supply of clean drinking water available and get plenty of liquids.
BCBSNC also encourages members to remember that natural disasters can be extremely stressful. It is important to remember the following:
- Know your physical limits. Clearing storm debris will take time – don’t overdo it.
- Watch for signs of excessive stress (uncontrollable anger, difficulty concentrating, feelings of helplessness).
- Avoid overuse of alcohol.
After a storm, drinking water may become contaminated. To avoid stomach ailments, watch the news to see if you should boil your water before drinking. Unrefrigerated food can spoil quickly, so be prepared to discard food if necessary, including condiments like mayonnaise that can go bad very rapidly.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.2 million members, including approximately 620,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 71 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com.