How to Survive a Hurricane with a Chronic Illness

How to Survive a Hurricane with a Chronic Illness

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You’re watching the news like your life depends on it, eagerly awaiting updates to see if it’s time to buy your hurricane snacks and supplies or not, when suddenly you feel this wave of pain come over you in your most vulnerable places. We’ve all been there, right? Those of us with chronic illnesses and chronic pain experience hurricanes, tropical systems, and weather events with a unique perspective. Why do we always feel worsened pain when hurricanes are on their way? Well, this is due to changes in the barometric pressure, which causes an inflammatory response in the joints. This is why even those without chronic illness can relate to feeling a heightened sensitivity with weather events. Having three chronic illnesses and living through more hurricanes in my lifetime than I can count, I’ve done the hard work to find the best products, tips, and techniques to get through a hurricane with chronic pain, and today I’m sharing it with you! Here are my top tips to survive a hurricane with a chronic illness.

Decide where you will be during the storm

If you plan to leave, leave ASAP. The last thing you want is to be stuck on the interstate for four extra hours of traffic because you waited until the last minute. You don’t need to add extra back pain from sitting in the car on top of your current pain level due to the storm. If you’re leaving, book the hotel, make sure you pack your medicine, and get out fast. Alternatively, if you plan to stay, make sure you know where your safe room is, and have a hurricane supply area near your safe room. Then, if you need anything, it’s all located in one place, so you don’t have to search. Stock your safe room with pillows, blankets, and supplies early on, as your pain will likely increase as the hurricane approaches.  

many cars sitting in multi-lane traffic

Purchase your supplies ASAP

Yes, you’re about to be that person everyone talks about because they can’t believe you’re buying hurricane snacks, bottled water, and batteries so soon. What your friends don’t realize, is that if you wait until a few days before the hurricane comes (like they will), it could be too late. You could be in so much pain you can’t stand in the grocery store checkout line. Shop early so you aren’t stuck in the grocery store at the last minute stressed and in pain!

You also need to have an extra week’s supply of medicine! Be sure to refill your prescriptions if needed so you can get through the hurricane with a chronic illness.

grocery cart in the freezer section of a grocery store

Keep your electronics charged

Worst case scenario, if you lose electricity, you still need to be able to reach your doctors or call 911. Make sure you have a contingency plan! Keep your phone charged and have a portable charger handy if you need it. This can also allow you to keep up with your local news stations for updates on the hurricane or tropical system.

phone charging on a desk

Have heating pads and ice packs available

Heating pads are so helpful for muscle or joint tension and tightness. Ice packs will be your best bet to help with any swelling from the pain or being overheated. Make sure they’re frozen and ready to go well before the hurricane approaches.

When looking for a heating pad, you want to make sure it has a large surface area that can cover your entire pain area (for instance, your entire back if you have widespread back pain). Selecting a heating pad with a timer or auto-turn off setting is super essential in case you fall asleep with the heating pad on. This way, you won’t have to worry about remembering to turn it off before bedtime or starting a fire! Lastly, I love to use a heating pad with multiple heat settings and levels. Especially when using heating pads during the warmer months (peak hurricane season), you might not want to have a sauna, but a little bit of heat can be helpful. Now you can turn it on the lowest or second setting to keep yourself from getting too warm.

woman and cat laying on a heating pad on a bed

Biofreeze is your best friend

Let me tell you, Biofreeze is a MUST if you deal with any sort of pain. My chiropractor recommended this to me and I’m so glad she did as it’s now my go-to when I start feeling joint pain. It includes menthol, which is a great fast actor against pain, but it doesn’t have so much that you’ll smell up your house when putting it on. It comes in multiple forms, but I love the roll-on so I can use it on my hands and avoid my finger pads. This way I won’t make a mess when touching electronics later. It’s also compact, which is perfect for throwing in a purse for on-the-go help. I’m not sure the specifics of how Biofreeze works, I just know it’s tiny but mighty! It provides a cooling sensation and helps tackle targeted pain quickly and powerfully.

man experiencing wrist ache

My favorite supplement for pain – Turmeric

Turmeric is a fantastic, natural anti-inflammatory supplement that should be in your rotation if you deal with any sort of inflammation. Specifically, be sure to purchase a turmeric supplement that contains curcumin. Curcumin is the specific substance in turmeric that combats inflammation, which is why it’s essential to look for a brand that includes both turmeric and curcumin. Be sure to chat with your doctor at your next appointment about side effects, medication interactions, and the benefits of adding this natural supplement to your rotation.

bottle of turmeric curcumin supplement

Take extra hot baths & showers

Heat is a wonderful muscle relaxer, and I don’t know about you, but I personally LOVE receiving it through water. There’s something about hot baths, showers, jacuzzi and hot tub soaks that just instantly relaxes me and helps sooth my pains and aches. Specifically, I love adding Epsom salts to my baths for all the incredible benefits. Epsom salts include magnesium sulfates which benefits include easing muscle and joint pains, killing bacteria to help better your immune system, stress reduction which can lead to improved blood pressure, enhancing your quality of sleep through deep relaxation, better nerve function, and easing constipation. I prefer Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salts, as they add essential oils which can help with more specific goals such as rest & relaxation, soothe & sleep, and detoxify & energize. My favorite is rest & relaxation, both in the salt soaking solution and the foaming bath! All you need to do is add two cups of the salts and as much bubble bath as you want to a 20-minute soak to obtain all these added benefits to your health! I mean, who wouldn’t want to sign up for that as an easy way to survive a hurricane with chronic pain?!

Stay hydrated with electrolytes

After working in a theme park for two years, I know firsthand just how easy it is get become dehydrated without realizing it. Daily, for two years, I would watch guests suffer with poor moods and difficulty moving, and almost all these challenges could be attributed to dehydration. We all know this already but staying hydrated is essential for mental clarity which you will need to get through the hurricane with a chronic illness, improved mood, high quality sleep, lowering stress; the list goes on and on! To make matters worse, oftentimes those with a chronic illness struggle to retain the electrolytes they need from drinking water alone. Take your hydration to the next level by adding electrolytes to your water to ensure you are retaining the proper number of electrolytes! This is my favorite brand because it’s low calorie, tastes delicious, doesn’t have a funky texture, and doesn’t add a ton of sugar I don’t need!

bottle of water with electrolytes

Final thoughts

Well, there you have it, my tested and approved tips on how to survive a hurricane with a chronic illness! I think we can all agree that dealing with a hurricane or weather event is difficult enough without all the added chronic pain. While these tips won’t heal you completely, my hope is you can take some of these techniques to help take the edge off your pain and make it a bit easier to survive the hurricane with chronic pain. Do you plan to adopt any of these tips for the next hurricane? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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4 thoughts on “How to Survive a Hurricane with a Chronic Illness”

    1. I’m so glad you haven’t been in this predicament yet! Being a local Floridian, we have a few threats each year it seems. I hope this helps!

  1. These are such excellent tips for surviving a hurricane with a chronic illness. You are going to help so many people, and your troubles will not have been in vain!!! Keep writing.

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