Diabetes and Disasters: Emergency Preparedness

Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes- you name it, we are seeing it somewhere in the world. During such a disaster, life as you know it will (at least temporarily) cease to exist. Routines will be disrupted, families will be uprooted, and living conditions may become quite different. Therefore, advanced planning for such emergencies NOW will make a great difference THEN. Hopefully, you will never need an emergency preparedness kit, but better safe than sorry.

Basic emergency preparedness (kits) apply to all family members and should include the following: changes of clothing, bottled water (a gallon of water per day per person) and portable food supplies (protein bars, canned meats and beans, granola), for a minimum of three days. Include basic hygiene products in your kit, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and hand gels/wipes, glasses or contact lens. Also include flashlights, batteries, portable radio, pens and writing pads, and a portable phone with battery charger backup. Most importantly, take time now to create an emergency contact list (family doctor, family members, health insurance card copies, and preferred pharmacy), a list of your medical conditions & current medications, as well as any known allergies. Finally, everyone should pack an extra set of house keys, car keys, and some cash.

Those with chronic medical conditions like diabetes need to take this emergency preparedness another step. Your kit should have at least 2 weeks supplies of medications, and gel packs for any medications that need refrigeration. In addition, a sharps container to collect used syringes and other testing supplies, a spare glucose meter (with additional batteries), notepads to record glucose readings, times of medication administration, and to track symptoms. In addition to regular food/fluid items, persons with diabetes should pack additional sources of fast-acting glucose (think glucose tablets, gels or specialty drinks).

While no one likes to think about these disaster related situations, preplanning will give you the best possible outcome. When a disaster strikes, cell phones may not work, pharmacies may be closed, and hospitals may be overrun with an influx of patients. Thus, preparing for such an event now affords you a better chance at survival and safety for you and your family, should the worst-case scenario occur.

For more information, check out these links:

https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/preparedness.html

https://www.thediabetescouncil.com/diabetes-and-disasters-how-to-manage-your-diabetes-during-disasters/

https://www.diabeteseducator.org/living-with-diabetes/disaster-preparedness

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