Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Users of pharmaceuticals are being advised to take the necessary precautions to safeguard their medicines in the event of a hurricane. The season began on June 1 and ends November 30.
Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services Mrs. Gracia Wheatley-Smith said while persons are preparing their homes and disaster kits in preparation for a hurricane impact, patients should also examine their medicine supply. She said persons must be aware of what to do before, during and after the impact of a hurricane as it pertains to keeping their medicines secured.
Mrs. Wheatley-Smith said, “Persons should have at least one extra month’s supply of medicines and asthmatics should refill their inhalers in the event of an impact on health facilities which might render them unable to serve the public immediately after the impact. Parents should also ensure that a sufficient stock of fever reducing and pain relieving medicines for children are on hand.”
Mrs. Wheatley-Smith advised that pharmacists must be asked to dispense medicines in the amber screw top or snap lid containers and not medicine bags. She added that a list of all the medications currently in use must be kept and should include the name of the medicine, the dosage and frequency, the physicians name and number, and the number of the pharmacy where the prescription was filled, in the event the information is needed in an emergency.
The Chief said, “If persons vacate their homes before or during the storm please ensure that you take your medicines with you. Medicines should be placed in zip-locked plastic bags and kept away from potential flood areas.”
She added that if water penetrates the package, after the storm has passed the medicine should be taken to the pharmacy to have it replaced.
Mrs. Wheatley-Smith further stated that insulin should not be stored near heat generating appliances and must be kept out of the sunlight. She said persons should also be careful to avoid freezing insulin if ice is being used for storage when electricity is off.
The public can contact the Chief of Drugs and Pharmaceutical Services at telephone 468-4398 for more information on securing medicines during the hurricane season.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to enabling effective use and management of medicines.