Friday, July 15, 2011

Prescription drugs during a disaster

When it comes to getting through a disaster, there are a few basic things that everybody needs — food supplies, water, a place to stay.

But for many people, those three things aren’t enough to safely weather an emergency. Another lifesaving basic, medicine, is often hard to come by during a disaster, turning an already bad situation into something more dangerous.

Luckily, a new program called Rx Response is working to solve that problem, acting as a central point of communication for governments, response teams, pharmacies and patients to make sure that prescription medication stays available and accessible in times of emergency.

Rx Response doesn’t deliver medicines to patients or write prescriptions, instead, the program helps “minimize barriers hindering the supply of medicines.” It also offers tools to help you get your medicine during a disaster.

For example, in the event of a disaster, the Rx Response site activates its pharmacy status reporting tool, which includes a searchable map of pharmacies in your area, color-coded to show which are reporting problems and which ones remain open. Live reports during a disaster show how medical supplies in your area are affected.

The program’s website also includes a form that you can use to print your own wallet-size card that lists your prescriptions. Keep this in a place that’s easy to reach for when you might suddenly need it, and consider sending a copy to a friend or relative as well.

There are other steps you can take to keep yourself and your family supplied with disaster essentials. Stock up on over-the-counter medicines and first aid supplies for your emergency kit and include extra doses of prescription medicines as well.

Remember, one of the biggest parts of staying safe is staying healthy — in any situation!

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