What if, for some hypothetical reason – natural disaster, national disaster, local unrest – you find yourself without access to emergency medical care? Consider what the most likely emergency situations would be for your family. Does a family member have diabetes? High blood pressure? Weak joints? Severe depression? Gastric disorders? Pregnancy? What if someone breaks a bone or receives a serious laceration? Are you prepared to handle a medical emergency at home, on your own?
There are ways to be prepared for such contingencies, but the number one best way to avoid medical disasters in the first place is to be healthy to begin with!
Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart Conditions
Many people are able to manage these conditions through diet and exercise. If you, or someone in your household, are one of these, the best way for you to be prepared for a major emergency is to maintain your current strategy. If you are currently on medication, be sure to have some stocked up, just in case.
What if you were unable to get your prescription renewed? It would be prudent to talk with your doctor about weaning off of your medication through alternative means. If you cannot get off the medication, work with your doctors to at least lower the dosage and get you to a place where you could live without your medication for a couple of weeks in a drastic situation.
Breaks, Sprains, Strains
Should you find yourself in a situation where you have to treat muscular/skeletal injuries on your own, do you have supplies? Splints. Crutches. Braces. Pain medication. But the number one best way to avoid muscular/skeletal injuries is to be in good shape in the first place. In such a situation, you may be chopping wood or hauling water. Your muscles may not be used to such workouts.
To be prepared, you do not need to do P90X or have a strenuous and time consuming workout regimen. A regular walking program is probably sufficient to ward off muscle strains in a disaster situation. Keep your joints lose, your muscles moving, and eat well to maintain healthy bone integrity. You will then be less likely to have a serious muscular/skeletal injury.
Mental Health Problems
These are real. These are not imagined. You may be on prescription medication, and that is okay. But consider what would happen if you did not have access to your medication for 2-4 weeks. Would you be able to cope? Would you become a danger to yourself or others? Have an extra supply of medication on hand for an extreme situation. Beyond that, talk to your mental health provider about alternative ways to get you through a crisis.
As with other prescription medications, see if you can wean off by exploring alternative treatment with your doctor. If that is not possible, can your condition be managed in alternative ways, at least for 2-4 weeks? A disaster situation will obviously add stress, so it is important that you consider all options ahead of time.
Again, stock up on needed medication. Stock your pantry with foods that are currently on your diet so that in an emergency, you don’t get sick. Store what you eat and eat what you store so you do not have a drastic change in diet during a disaster. Talk with your doctor about alternative treatments that do not require a prescription, treatments that can at least get your through 2-4 weeks without your medication.
Even if, and perhaps especially if, you favor hospital births, you need to be ready to deliver in an emergency situation without medical intervention, just in case. It is not at all unusual for a family to be snow-bound or ice-bound for several days. Could a baby come to your household during that time? Know your body, understand pregnancy and fetal development, and learn what is normal. Especially learn what is abnormal and what you can do about it. Work with your doctor to prevent or control gestational diabetes, toxemia and other complications of pregnancy. Have a plan ready just in case you find yourself unable to get medication or get to your doctor. Just in case.
Plan ahead. Get reasonably healthy and fit. This will go a long way to prevent having to provide extreme medical care in extreme emergency situations.