Make medical preparations for Irma now

- As we watch Hurricane Irma spin closer to Florida, it's a good reminder that if you have medical issues, you have to make special arrangements.

Because a state of emergency has been declared for Florida, you can get an extra 30-day supply of most prescription medications regardless of when you filled it last.  The rule only applies to medications that still have authorized refills remaining. 

If you take a Schedule II controlled substance, like an opioid, or a stimulant, like Adderall you may need to contact your doctor to make special arrangements since some of those drugs are prescribed monthly

When the power goes out, the clock starts ticking on foods left in your refrigerator or freezer.  Now may be a good time to cook up some of the things you know could spoil quickly, like seafood.

The FDA says a full, unopened freezer will keep things frozen for about 48 hours.  If it's not full, 24 hours. 

You can fill your freezer with things from your refrigerator you may not need, like milk, bacon, and other freezable leftovers. You also want to fill it with blocks of ice you make yourself using clean, plastic containers, juice or water bottles.

When the ice melts you can use it for drinking water. 

You'll also need to have a cooler on hand, filled with ice, for things like medications that require refrigeration.  The goal is to keep what you'll need in the cooler so you can keep your refrigerator and freezer doors shut.  

As for food in the refrigerator, the FDA says that will only last four hours without power.         

Special needs shelters are for people who need assistance with things like daily injectable medicines, are on dialysis, oxygen, and when their ability to care for themselves is so restricted, they need others to help them meet their basic needs. 

Using a special needs shelter requires pre-registration. 

Each county has a different website. Patients under Hospice care can contact their caregiver.  They may be able to help with the arrangements. 

You'll need to fill out a form, each one is different, so check with your local health dept.  Representatives from Hillsborough County say it's best to apply by tomorrow so they can plan ahead should the hurricane threaten the Tampa Bay area. 

Some counties also provide help with transportation. 

Below are links for each Bay Area county's special needs emergency management:

-Citrus: http://citrus.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/emergency-preparedness-and-response/special-needs-shelters/index.html

-DeSoto: http://desotobocc.com/department/emergency_management/special-needs

-Hardee: http://www.hardeecounty.net/site/content/eoc/specialneeds.htm

-Hernando: http://www.hernandosheriff.org/em/event/before/SpecialNeeds.htm

-Highlands: http://www.hcbcc.net/Special_Needs_Shelter_Registration_Form.pdf

-Hillsborough: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/residents/public-safety/emergency-management/action-folder/register-for-special-needs-disaster-assistance

-Manatee: http://www.mymanatee.org/home/government/departments/public-safety/emergency-management/special-needs.html

-Pasco: http://www.pascocountyfl.net/DocumentCenter/Home/View/730

-Pinellas: http://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/specialneeds.htm#register

-Polk: https://www.polk-county.net/docs/default-source/emergency-management/special-needs-registration-form.pdf?sfvrsn=0

-Sarasota: https://www.pdffiller.com/21637989-People-with-Special-Needs-Applicationpdf-sarasota-county-special-needs-shelter-application-form-Various-Fillable-Forms-scgov

-Sumter: http://sumtercountyfl.gov/1106/Special-Needs

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MORE HURRICANE INFORMATION:

-Tampa Bay Area sandbag information 

-Track Hurricane Irma

-Report Price Gouging to the price gouging hotline

-BE PREPARED: Printable Hurricane supply list from MyFOXHurricane.com

-Make sure your home is hurricane ready

-Flood risk and insurance information

-Florida flood zones and evacuation maps  

-For a FEMA emergency supply checklist click here. 

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