palm trees blowing in the wind against an orange sky

Preparing for a Tropical Storm: Last-Minute Tips

When a tropical storm is on the horizon and you have just one day to prepare, every minute counts. The key is to act swiftly, prioritize essential tasks, and ensure your safety and that of your loved ones. Here’s a focused guide on what you should be doing the day before a tropical storm arrives:

1. Stay Informed
  • Tune in to local news and weather updates: Information changes rapidly, so it’s crucial to stay updated on the storm’s trajectory and potential impact.
  • Know the difference: Understand if you’re under a tropical storm watch (conditions possible) or warning (conditions expected).
2. Secure Your Home
  • Windows: If you don’t have storm shutters, board up windows with plywood to protect them from potential flying debris.
  • Outdoor objects: Bring inside or securely tie down anything that can be picked up by the wind, such as garden furniture, plant pots, and bicycles.
  • Doors: Make sure all doors, including garage doors, are securely closed and locked. If possible, brace or reinforce your garage door.
  • Roof and gutters: Clear out gutters and drains to prevent water logging. If you have loose tiles or roofing, secure them as best as you can.
3. Gather Supplies
  • Water and Food: Stock up on bottled water and non-perishable food items. A rule of thumb is a three-day supply per person.
  • Medications: Ensure you have enough prescription and over-the-counter medications that any family member might need.
  • Power alternatives: Charge all your electronic devices, including backup power banks. Have flashlights, candles, and extra batteries at the ready.
  • Important documents: Place passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, and other critical documents in a waterproof bag or container.
4. Evacuation Readiness
  • Know your route: Even if you plan to stay put, have an evacuation route mapped out in case conditions worsen and you need to leave quickly.
  • Prepare your vehicle: If you have a car, fill up the gas tank and park it in a safe, accessible place.
  • Pack a bag: Keep an emergency bag packed with essentials (clothing, toiletries, medicines, and important documents) should you need to evacuate quickly.
5. Protect Valuables
  • Elevate furniture: If you live in an area susceptible to flooding, try to elevate your furniture, electronics, and other valuables.
  • Waterproofing: Use plastic sheets, tarps, or even trash bags to cover and protect valuable items from potential water damage.
6. Communicate
  • Notify someone: Tell a friend or family member outside the storm area about your whereabouts and plans. This ensures someone is aware of your location and situation.
  • Neighborhood check: If safe, check with neighbors to see if they need assistance. Working together can often make preparations more efficient.
 7. Plan for Pets
  • Shelter: Make sure you have a secure place for your pets. If evacuating, know which shelters or hotels are pet-friendly.
  • Supplies: Stock up on pet food, water, medications, and other supplies your pets might need.
8. Mental Preparation
  • Stay calm: Panic can lead to mistakes. Take deep breaths, make lists, and tackle tasks one at a time.
  • Children: Talk to children about what’s happening in a way they can understand. Reassure them, and try to maintain some routines for comfort.
Wrapping Up: The Power of Preparedness

The unpredictable nature of tropical storms can be daunting, but the strength and resilience we can find in adequate preparation should not be underestimated. While we cannot control the weather, our proactive efforts the day before a storm can make a substantial difference in how we weather it. Taking charge, prioritizing tasks, and acting swiftly can reduce risks and ensure the safety of both ourselves and our loved ones. Remember, material possessions can be replaced, but life cannot. The time and energy invested in preparation are invaluable, offering peace of mind and a stronger position to face the storm. As the saying goes, “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” Stay safe, stay informed, and always prioritize well-being above all else.

family of mom, dad, and 2 kids strolling by the beach

Staying Healthy Under the Sun: A Comprehensive Guide

When summer rolls around, it’s easy to get carried away by the charm of sunny days, cloudless skies, and the soft touch of sand underfoot. But while the sun nourishes our environment, providing us with essential vitamin D and uplifting our moods, it can also pose significant health risks if we don’t handle it with care. In this article, we’ll guide you through essential tips for staying healthy under the sun.

First and foremost, let’s understand our radiant star a bit more. The sun emits two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays that reach us: UVA and UVB. Both can harm our skin and eyes, and increase the risk of skin cancer. UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn, while UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, causing premature aging and contributing to skin cancer development.

1. Sunscreen: Your Best Ally

The most effective way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays is by regularly applying sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend using broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks out approximately 97% of UVB rays. Remember, no sunscreen can block all UV rays, so it’s crucial to reapply at least every two hours and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.

2. Dress Wisely

Clothing can provide an effective physical barrier between your skin and the sun. Opt for long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and skirts to cover as much skin as possible. Dark colors generally provide more protection than light ones, and tightly woven fabric protects better than loosely woven. Some clothing even comes with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) label. UPF50 blocks 98% of UV rays – quite an effective shield!

3. Protect Your Eyes

Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to eye damage, including cataracts and macular degeneration. Wear sunglasses that block out 99 to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation. When buying sunglasses, look for a label or a sticker that says the glasses block 100 percent of UV rays.

4. Seek Shade

While it’s wonderful to enjoy sunny weather, try to stay in the shade as much as possible, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV radiation is at its peak. If you’re planning to be outside during these hours, carry an umbrella or seek shelter under a tree or canopy.

5. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Exposure to high temperatures can lead to dehydration, which can cause a range of health problems from mild discomfort to severe heatstroke. Make sure you’re consuming plenty of fluids – water being the best option. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can dehydrate your body.

6. Be Mindful of Medication

Certain medications can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. These may include certain types of antibiotics, antihistamines, and antidepressants. If you’re on medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist about potential photosensitivity reactions.

7. Protecting Children

Children’s skin is more sensitive to UV rays than adults. Always apply sunscreen to their skin and encourage them to wear hats and protective clothing. Sunglasses are just as important for kids, so make sure they wear them when out in the sun.

8. Nutritious Diet

Certain foods have been shown to improve your body’s resistance against UV damage. These include fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, such as leafy greens, berries, carrots, and citrus fruits. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts can also help protect against sunburn and skin damage.

9. Monitor Your Skin

Regular self-examinations can help detect signs of skin cancer early. Look for changes in size, color, or shape of spots on your skin, and report any changes to your doctor immediately.

Remember, the sun is not our enemy. It supports life, improves mood, and promotes the synthesis of vitamin D. However, overexposure to sunlight, particularly without protection, can lead to numerous health issues, ranging from sunburn and premature aging of the skin to severe conditions like skin cancer. By integrating these sun safety tips into your daily life, you can enjoy the benefits of the sun while significantly reducing health risks. So, slather on that sunscreen, wear your hat and sunglasses, and go enjoy the sunshine responsibly!