Natural disasters are a sad reminder to be medically prepared for any emergency home-exit

Before a natural disaster, it's important that you prepare a diabetes emergency kit.

Anyone with a chronic disease knows preparing for a trip or vacation means you have thought about packing extra medication supplies. You’re prepared because you’re thinking ahead.

Imagine leaving your home in an emergency-exit situation, essentially becoming temporarily homeless. The mental anguish alone can dramatically affect our physical health.

For those in the wake of Hurricane Harvey who are reliant on diabetes medications, we can only imagine this natural disaster is secondary to their ultimate worry of where or how they will get the insulin, blood sugar monitoring and medical devices they need in order to stay alive.

While Hurricane Harvey is a horrible disaster, it also can be a reminder for individuals and communities to review medical action-plans in case of disasters. Michigan State University Extension suggests planning a diabetes emergency kit.

Prepare a portable kit – use a large waterproof and insulated bin. This will protect supplies from moisture, heat and cold. Insert the following items:

  • A list of the type of diabetes you have, allergies and prior surgeries
  • Include a list of all medications, dosages and pharmacy information – add notes about what diabetes medications you have taken and reasons your medication might have changed or been updated
  • Write down you healthcare provider and diabetes provider team contacts
  • If you take insulin, your provider can supply you with a letter outlining your most current diabetes care regimen, noting your A1C, liver and blood tests
  • Have a 30-day supply of medication, extra vials, syringes, meters and batteries – do not pack insulin until you leave the home
  • Include an emergency hypoglycemia kit – check that the kit has not expired
  • Include diabetes supplies and extra batteries
  • Place a small foldable cooler inside your kit to be used to keep medication/insulin at safe temperatures
  • Keep freezer cold-pacts ready to add to your kit - do not use dry ice or freeze your insulin
  • Have a sealed plastic container added to the kit as a dispensary for used needles
  • Include carbohydrates for hypoglycemia – remedies would include glucose tablets, juice boxes, regular soda, sugar or boxed raisins
  • Add a few days’ supply of meal replacement shakes or peanut butter crackers, and bottle water
  • A pen and paper so that you can record your blood sugar readings
  • Include a first aid kit
Hurricane Harvey Diabetes Supply & Relief

Many in the diabetes community are eager to help those with diabetes affected by Tropical Storm Harvey. According to Insulin for Life USA, both the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) have announced a partnership with the American Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to bring in diabetes supplies to areas affected by Harvey. Information on this effort will be regularly given at this site: www.diabetes.org/hurricaneharvey. For diabetes information in Spanish visit, American Diabetes Association Spanish.

For more information on disaster prevention and your health visit Michigan State University Extension.

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