Preparing for Hurricane Irma: How to Protect Your Lung Health
(September 6, 2017)
The United States braces for another major hurricane, Irma. The American Lung Association joins the nation in its concern for the communities living in the areas that could be affected by Irma, particularly those who have already suffered damage from Hurricane Harvey. While the path and trajectory of Hurricane Irma are not yet clear, forecasts warn that the storm will affect much of the Southeast, especially Florida and Puerto Rico.
In addition to devastating destruction from winds, Harvey demonstrated again that flooding can also have deadly impacts on lung health. Floods and natural disasters of this kind can put anyone's lungs at risk, but members of your family facing the greatest risk include children, older adults and those living with lung diseases.
The Lung Association has information and resources to help you and your family stay healthy:
- How To Protect Your Lung Health Before and After a Flood
- Hurricanes and Tornadoes
- Floods and Water Damage
- Chemical Releases during a natural disaster
- Returning Home after a natural disaster
Preparing for the Threats
- Preparation is key. Hurricanes offer more warning, so evacuate as soon as your community is ordered to do so. Weather warnings offer better chance now to protect your family from tornadoes, as well.
- If you have a lung disease, it's important to keep up with your medicines. Remember to take your medicines with you if you must evacuate. Contact your doctor if you have run out or lose your medicines or can't remember what you are supposed to be taking. The interactive RxOpen map shows open and closed pharmacies in regions affected by disaster. Citizens and first responders are encouraged to use this map as an initial resource, and to call their pharmacy to ensure their specific medicines are in stock.
- If you have asthma or COPD, create an Asthma or COPD Travel Pack to ensure you have all of the medicines and instructions you need in one, easily accessible place. Store your Asthma Travel Pack and medicines at the correct temperature.
Toll-free Lung HelpLine: Lung health Questions and Cleanup Guidance
For further questions about protecting your lung health during flood clean up, managing your lung disease during a natural disaster or airborne chemical leaks, contact our lung health experts at 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4852).
- Ready.gov, an outreach from the Federal Emergency Management Administration and other federal agencies has information on preparing for hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and other disasters.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has preparation advice.
- FDA's guidance on preparing medical devices for hurricanes
- DisasterAssistance.gov—Steps to receive disaster assistance.
- RxOpen map—shows open and closed pharmacies in regions affected by disaster.
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—Information on returning to your home after disasters.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—Information on preparing for and recovery after flooding.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration—Information on food and water safety during floods.
Related link: Protecting Your Health After Hurricane Harvey