Surviving a Hurricane with Chronic Migraine

By Amanda

With the countless hurricanes that have been affecting the coast and the islands, trying to deal with a hurricane while managing chronic migraine presents some of its very own challenges.

When a storm is coming, there are several phases that individuals have to endure. There is the normal chaos surrounding the prep time before the storm hits, the time during the actual storm, and then the aftermath of the storm.

I would know — I live in the coastal south of Texas.

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The Prep Time

It is important to make sure all of your prescriptions are filled, even if you are not completely out of the medication yet. If your pharmacy is able to fill it for you, have it filled.

Since there is no way to know what the effect of the storm may be on your area, you do not want to risk running out of medications. So, while you are stocking up on other items for your household, do not forget to go through your pharmacy. You will want to get your prescription medications and some over the counter products such as bandages and antibiotic ointments.

During the Storm

It can be challenging to keep stress levels minimized during a storm, regardless of whether you stayed home during the storm or if you evacuated. For many of us, stress can be a major trigger which is definitely not helpful in this type of situation.

In addition to the trigger of added stress, many of us are affected by storms in general, by things such as the changes in barometric pressure. It is safe to assume if a regular rain storm affects you, a major hurricane most likely will as well.

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Furthermore, in some instances, those who choose not to evacuate can lose electricity for an unknown amount of time. During hurricane season along coastal regions, temperatures are still relatively warm. This added exposure to heat and humidity can add to an individual’s migraine frequency, severity and duration.

It is also important to stay hydrated and to continue taking and preventative medications your doctor may have you on. It is very easy to get off track when there are other things going on in your life but your health is the most important.

The Aftermath

The aftermath is the hardest aspect of the hurricane process if your home has damage. For example, in the event of hurricane Harvey, which I recently endured, the water damage to homes seemed to mold extremely fast compared to other flood events the area has seen in the past. This is not a good thing for those of us with migraine.

Unfortunately, black mold can cause headache or migraine symptoms along with nausea or vomiting even in those who did not previously have a migraine disorder. These symptoms would be very complicated for some of us to tell apart from a regular migraine attack that we normally face.

If you have to be a part of cleaning up a damaged home, such as one from hurricane Harvey, it is important to wear the masks and change them out properly and to stay hydrated with water and Gatorade.

Once the damaged sheet rock and insulation are removed, give the studs and plywood time to dry out. Once everything has dried out enough, everything should be treated for mold and allowed to dry some more before you put the new insulation and sheet rock up.

My Conclusion & Hope

Hopefully you are never strongly impacted by these types of storms, but in the event that you find yourself facing the possibility, try to stay calm and keep these pointers in mind. Remember to keep your prescribed treatment plans and if necessary, inquire about emergency clinics that get set up in disaster zones if you need to go to the clinic but your clinic is unable to open.

I am able to provide this kind of information because I am a survivor of the recent hurricane Harvey that hit South Texas. We did not evacuate because honestly the storm was not expected to come this way nor leave as much water in our area as it did. The photos you see in this post show my own home and some of my community.

We demo-ed the sheet rock and insulation in our home because it quickly went from just being wet to being full of black mold. Our community is also still trying to pick up the pieces, but it is estimated to take at least a year for it to be able to return to normal.

Many of us not only have issues with our homes but so many of us lost jobs as well. In our case, we did not have home insurance due to the type and location of our home. So, we are trying in every way to bounce back and make the estimated $20,500 worth of repairs to our home. There are so many places that flooded which never flooded before in previous storms. In these times, people consider the necessities such as food, water, and clothing.

Unfortunately for those of us under medical care, things can be extra complicated if we do not properly plan ahead. Please take my advice and always prepare for any storm properly, big or small — the smallest precautions can save a lot of headache (literally).

 

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