People with diabetes especially need to be ready for the hurricane season. When you have diabetes, there are additional challenges to consider during natural disasters. Discover how to be well-prepared in case you face a major hurricane this summer.
- If you must evacuate to escape the threat of a hurricane such as staying in an emergency shelter, let others know you have diabetes. Wear an ID emergency necklace or bracelet that contains your important medical information. Inform others if you have other health issues, such as heart disease or chronic kidney disease. Keep a copy of your emergency contacts, including your doctors, with you at all times. Include a list of all your medications with doses and reasons for each medication. Store emergency numbers under ICE in your cell phone, which stands for “in case of emergency,” as emergency response teams are trained to find this information. Have a portable charger with batteries available so your cell phone is always charged.
- Drink plenty of water. Make sure you have safe drinking water available by keeping extra bottled water on-hand. Remember stress, high blood sugar, heat and certain diabetes medications may cause you to lose fluid faster. Have regular hard candy or glucose tablets or gels with you at all times in case your blood sugar plummets.
- Watch out for your feet during emergencies, such as hurricanes and evacuations. Do not walk in contaminated water and always wear shoes with closed toes. Continue to examine your feet for signs of injury or infection. If you get injured seek medical treatment immediately.
- Plan ahead for emergencies. Prepare an emergency kit with at least five days worth of diabetes supplies and medications, including insulin and insulin syringes. Ask your doctor about storing prescription medications that may need to be kept cool such as insulin. Have a FRIO wallet or small cooler available. Be prepared with all other medications and access to medical treatments, such as dialysis. Have an action plan before a hurricane hits. Update the medications in your emergency kit regularly to make sure they have not expired. Include simple first aid items as well.
- If your child has diabetes and goes to day care or school, inquire about the facility’s emergency plan. Make sure they have the necessary supplies for your child during a hurricane or other emergency. Include a three-day supply of medications, water and foods your child can eat. Identify the staff members that may assist your child during an evacuation and verify they know what to do for your child during an emergency. Have your child wear an emergency necklace or bracelet to let people know he or she has diabetes.
- Have a preparedness kit for your family to use at home or in the car during an evacuation. The kit should include your emergency medical kit, a first-aid kit, a radio, a flashlight, a manual can opener and batteries as well as food and water. Have disposable cups, plates and napkins in your pantry as well as propane for a camp stove. A small portable coal grill will work well too. Keep low-sugar and low-sodium foods in your kit that require little or no preparation. Include high protein items such as canned tuna, beans and nuts as well as unsweetened canned fruits and no-salt vegetables. If you have dry mixes, verify they can be mixed with water rather than dairy products that spoil. Include dry milk in the preparedness kit. Check the freshness dates regularly and replace expired items. Have enough bottled water for at least three days. Keep in mind you may need extra bottled water for washing up, if the water supply goes down or becomes contaminated. Keep small, portable battery operated fans to help you stay cool.
Being well-prepared can save your life during a crisis such as a hurricane. Put together a complete emergency medical kit and preparedness kit and store them where you grab them right away. Minimize your stress by being prepared for any crisis.