Evacuating and Relocating Due to Natural Disasters With MG
Last updated: December 2022
Hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, avalanches, ice storms, sinkholes, eruptions, flooding, blizzards, and landslides. Natural disasters are devastating phenomena entirely out of our control.
I'm located in South Florida and evacuated for hurricane Ian. The event got me thinking about all my other myasthenia gravis (MG) friends that live in areas prone to natural disasters! Despite uncontrollable circumstances, we can be prepared to accommodate and stay consistent with managing our MG when these times strike.
Extra treatment for emergencies
Talk with your health team about having extra prescriptions and treatments ordered to prepare for an unforeseen event. Prescriptions and orders can typically be sent to a different location. Regardless, those with MG know you want to avoid a delay or circumstance without your needed dose in time.
You may need to call a patient advocate within your insurance company to help get these orders approved.
Keeping treatments refrigerated
Home displacement and evacuations can be problematic if you have treatment and medications that need to be refrigerated. Have a plan for coolers to keep medicine and injection vials refrigerated as directed. You can purchase thermometers to know if your cooler is at the right temperature.
There are exceptional coolers that can keep items cool for several days. Buy a cooler as soon as possible to confirm you can achieve your medication's required temperature. Do you desire less stress worrying about keeping our treatment cold enough? You could purchase a mini-fridge for your vehicle and run it with a power inverter.
If you plan to stay at a rental or hotel, I would call ahead of scheduling and arriving to ensure they have quality, properly working refrigerators. Recent reviews could also help you out.
Disability-accommodating overnight stays
If you have to evacuate or re-home due to a natural emergency, keep in mind your limitations when booking or finding a place to spend the night. Booking sites typically state whether a room is on the first floor, which could be easier if you have mobility limitations or wish to save energy. Also, ensure the room has a disability shower if you require one!
Evacuating and relocating with marijuana
Are you a marijuana user and have a medical card? Do you live in a state where it is legal? Remember that crossing into another state that does not permit cannabis is illegal. It does not matter where you purchased it. Marijuana is illegal to fly with on all terms, regardless if you're flying from one legal state to another.
In my experience, CBD helps ease many symptoms. CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, but does not contain THC. CBD restrictions differ by state. All countries have different terms and laws for which THC and CBD products can be possessed and sold.1
Hospital locations along evacuation route
Plot the hospitals along your evacuation route on a physically printed map that you can place in your vehicle. Take a physical photo of this map to save on your phone so you have a backup if your map gets lost or your phone dies. I would take pictures of your hospital map rather than keep them in the map app for situations in which you lose phone service.
Natural disasters are incredibly overwhelming. Consequently, a crisis could become more likely. Have a 1-page printout explaining MG. List your medications and trigger drugs of MG. It can save your life if you are in the unfortunate situation of having to go to the emergency room.
Emergency water and snacks in your vehicle are necessary if you need to eat and hydrate with your medications.
And fur babies! Don't leave them behind if you have to evacuate for the weather! It is understandable that while trying not to flare your MG symptoms, pets may be too much of a hassle during such an eventful and stressful time. Bring them along and drop them off at an overnight pet boarding or care facility once you are in a safe area clear of the route of any potentially dangerous weather.
How often do you experience MG exacerbations/flares?