Health Doesn’t Stop When a Hurricane Starts | Business Wire

PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–According to the National

Weather Service, the North Atlantic hurricane season is approaching

its peak.1 Hurricanes and other natural disasters don’t

discriminate in their victims. However, poor and marginalized populations

usually suffer disproportionately from flooding and other effects of

natural disasters because they tend to have lesser-quality shelter

and other pre-existing challenges, according to the Brookings Institute.2

“People with few and modest resources are more likely to have a variety

of chronic health problems. These problems are more likely to become

acute during a natural disaster,” said Dr. Andrea Gelzer, senior vice

president of medical affairs for AmeriHealth

Caritas, a national leader in Medicaid managed care and other health

care solutions for those in need. “Supplies of safe food, water.

medication can be compromised. And you may be cut off from doctors and

other support systems that help you manage your health.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends taking the

following steps to protect one’s health during and after a hurricane:3

Food and flood waters don’t mix

Avoid any food that may have come into contact with flood water or was

packed in a container that was water-damaged. If you lose electrical

power, the FDA recommends keeping refrigerator and freezer doors closed

as much as possible to preserve the food in there for as long as


Boil and clean water, otherwise don’t drink it

If your tap water isn’t safe for drinking. You can’t obtain bottled

water, boil it for one minute, then let it cool for one minute before

drinking and storing it in clean, closed containers. If your water looks

cloudy, you can filter it through a clean cloth or let it settle and

skim off the top, clear portion.

Those who obtain tap water from a well on their property (as opposed to

a municipal water supply) should've their water tested and disinfected

after flood waters recede.

If the medication isn’t dry, kiss it goodbye

Medications exposed to flood or other unsafe water may be contaminated.

As such, they should be replaced as soon as possible. Medication that

appears to be wet or otherwise changed should especially be avoided.

Health plans may (and in some cases are required to) allow you to refill

prescriptions early and/or at out-of-network pharmacies during an

emergency. This should help expedite the process of replacing your

medication supplies.

Keep your insulin cool

Approximately 10 percent of Americans have diabetes,4 and

research has found that type 2 diabetes is more prevalent among

low-income populations than those with high incomes.5

Everyone with type 1 diabetes. Many with type 2, use insulin to

manage their condition.6

According to the FDA, insulin should ideally be refrigerated. It may

be kept in manufacturers’ vials or cartridges at a temperature of 59 to

86 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 28 days. If you lose power, and,

therefore, the use of your refrigerator, you should try to keep your

insulin as cool as possible (though not frozen), away from direct heat,

and out of direct sunlight.

Once you regain the ability to properly store insulin, you should

discard and replace any supplies that were exposed to extreme conditions.3

About AmeriHealth Caritas

AmeriHealth Caritas is part of the Independence Health Group in

partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. AmeriHealth Caritas

is one of the nation’s leaders in health care solutions for those most

in need. Operating in 15 states and the District of Columbia,

AmeriHealth Caritas serves approximately 5.3 million Medicaid, Medicare

and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) members through its

integrated managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management and

specialty pharmacy services, behavioral health services. Other

administrative services. Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth

Caritas is a mission-driven organization with more than 35 years of

experience serving low-income and chronically ill populations. For more

information, visit

1 Hurricane Safety and Tips. National Weather Service.

Ferris, Elizabeth. Natural Disasters, Conflict. Human Rights:

Tracing the Connections. Brookings Institute, 3 Mar 2010.

Hurricane Safety Resources. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 18 Sept.


“Statistics by State.” American Diabetes Association, Oct. 2017.

Chih-Cheng Hsu, et. al. Poverty Increases Type 2 Diabetes Incidence and

Inequality of Care Despite Universal Health Coverage. Diabetes Care,

Nov. 2012. 35(11): 2286-2292.

Diabetes Fact Sheet. World Health Organization, Nov. 2017.

AmeriHealth Caritas
Joshua Brett, 1-215-863-5458
[email protected]