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Irma keeping you up? Experts say hurricane memories could cause mental health problems

Highway 19 East, which had some serious damage because of Hurricane Matthew. (WPDE file image)

Hurricane Irma's potential impact to South Carolina is on most people's minds this week. For some, it might be a little too much.

Health experts say there could be an explanation.

"You almost develop like a post traumatic stress type reaction," said Conway Medical Center Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Paul Richardson, explained of people's memories after Hurricane Matthew hit the area last October. "And then, with the constant media attention around the storm, these are big deals. Folks are worried for good reason."

Richardson said he wants people to think about the basics if they are experiencing more than the usual pre-hurricane anxiety.

"Really, self awareness, I think, is the number one thing that helps to combat that--being self aware. And, just taking good common sense approaches to this," he said.

Richardson said simple things like meditation and getting enough sleep are crucial for a healthy mind.

He also said taking a logical, one-step-at-a-time approach to the hurricane will help get people prepared and put minds at ease.

This could mean planning for any possible scenarios a major hurricane could bring, such as power outages or product shortages.

"If the power goes out, there will be radio sources, battery powered radios and that sort of thing," he said.

If worse comes to worst, Richardson said there are others there to help.

"If you do need help, we're here. The hospital is going to be open."

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