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IDPH: Make health a preparedness priority

September is National Preparedness Month

September 16, 2012
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Preparedness Month 2nd in Series:

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) joins local, state and national partners in recognizing September as National Preparedness Month. During September, Iowans are urged to think about and make plans for dealing with a wide variety of emergencies, including severe storms, extreme heat or cold, disease outbreaks or even events like terrorism and bioterrorism that could cause wide-spread damages to property and homes, injuries or deaths. "No one likes to think about emergencies that could affect themselves or their families, but planning ahead is critical to preparedness," said IDPH Center for Disaster Operations and Response Chief Rebecca Curtiss. "Preparedness simply means being as ready as you can be for events you can't predict."

Maintaining health and wellness should be part of any preparedness or readiness plan. "Up-to-date personal medical records are an important part of readiness for any emergency," said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. "It's important that health records, current prescriptions, and a list of medical allergies for every family member are part of a preparedness kit so they can be easily located and taken with you if you need to seek medical care in a new place." Quinlisk also recommends having a two-week supply of necessary prescription medications on hand in case an emergency makes it difficult or impossible to leave your home or locate an open pharmacy.

Yearly preparedness should include planning for returning diseases like the flu. Contact your health care provider to schedule your annual influenza vaccination and while you're there, make sure all your vaccinations are up-to-date, including tetanus and pertussis immunizations.

Perhaps the easiest way to protect you and your family's health is to remember to wash your hands frequently, especially after using the restroom or touching animals, and before preparing food. Since soap and water are not always readily available, it's also a good idea to keep hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol content) in your purse, car, backpack and emergency kit. For more information on emergency preparedness, visit

For information specific to public health emergencies, visit



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