If you or someone you know or love has diabetes get out the scissors, you will want to share this information. Act on this advice today, putting it off may be too late.
The people who were in the path of Hurricane Florence had a lot to prepare and plan. Fear, worry and stress made life even more difficult. Those dealing with diabetes were faced with an even heavier burden.
Being prepared for any situation reduces panic during a disaster. Diabetes supplies go beyond a box of band aids and a few Q Tips. Keeping things in one place and updating regularly eases the anxiety of fleeing for your life.
First you need a lightweight, waterproof storage bin with a snap-on lid. Keep it in a dry, easy to access spot. Make sure everyone knows where these emergency supplies are stored.
Gather extra test strips and lancets. Check the expiration dates regularly. Spare batteries for your meter is a plus. Hand sanitizer and wet wipes can substitute for hand washing in an emergency.
If you are taking insulin or other hypoglycemic medications there are more supplies that you may need, such as, a glucagon kit; extra syringes and a sharps container. In a pinch use an empty water bottle. A small Styrofoam cooler for insulin is a necessity plus back up supplies for those with insulin pumps.
Water is important and each person needs around 3 quarts daily. Nonperishable snacks to prevent highs and lows are vital. Pack some packaged peanut butter crackers, granola bars or trail mix. Quick carbs for low blood sugars include: a 6-ounce juice box; a half of a roll of LifeSavers; two packs of Smarties; 2 tablespoons of raisins; three sugar packets of sugar; or glucose tablets.
An identification card or a wearable ID could save your life. Keep a list of current medications with dose and schedule up to date. A copy of your insurance card would be helpful if needed. A medical history summary that lists your diabetes type, allergies and other health conditions is invaluable.
Compile an emergency contact list of family members, neighbors, co-workers, health care providers, pharmacies and your insurance plan. List your closest family in your cell phone with a prefix of ICE, example ICE hubby; ICE son; ICE doctor. ICE stands for In Case of Emergency. If someone finds you unconscious a phone ICE contact will locate your loved ones quicker.
Check the expiration dates of your emergency diabetes box at least once a year. For more information check out the Tulane University Diabetes-Specific Disaster Survival Guide at tulaneresearch.com
The best thing you can do is to stay aware of routine diabetes care. Emergencies will require more energy and extra supplies may be limited. Other people may be counting on you to be part of the solution, not adding to the problem. Being prepared is the first step.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator, registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a Diabetes Self-Management Training Program at Dunlap Community Hospital, Orrville, Ohio. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.