Hurricane Sandy & Preventive Medicine

The thing on everyone’s mind in the area over the past few days has been Hurricane Sandy. Meteorologists are calling it a unique storm. It’s rare to have a tropical hurricane come up into the Northeast as it is, but to have it combine with other low pressure systems as it reaches land is even more unusual. Sandy has been so much on the forefront of public consciousness that it is washing out the elections from the main news stations, although that may be less about the novelty of the hurricane and more about the media’s fickleness for new stories.

One thing that has been shouted out from almost every recent news station has been to prepare your family and your household for emergencies. Some people I know have stated that this message of preparedness has been blown up to hype levels, but the intentions behind getting ready for emergencies remain sound. The last thing you want when disaster strikes is to be without a plan.

In terms of healthcare preparation, the things you hear from emergency management organizations are good to follow. If you have a loved one who requires a machine to help them manage their health (eg. a dialysis machine), then having access to enough batteries is important. If you are on a regime of medication that shouldn’t be interrupted, make certain you have your personal stockpile safe. And if there’s a medical emergency, have a way to call 911.

Apart from preparing during times of emergency, it’s worth asking what you do to maintain and promote your health during times of calm. I mean more here than just ensuring that you go to your PCP for your yearly physical or getting screenings done at the appropriate ages. I’m talking about preventive medicine – what do you do for your health proactively?

I ask this because preventive medicine is preparedness, lived out all the time. A person who lived with preventive care in mind doesn’t have to worry about keeping enough batteries for their dialysis machine because they kept themselves from getting diabetes. They don’t have to keep their stockpile of medication because they found non-pharmacological ways of improving their health.

Managing your diet and getting appropriate exercise are forms of this kind of medicine. Acupuncture is too. And whatever you choose, it needs to be something you make a part of your life. What will be your choice?