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Top 10 Diabetic Must-Haves for Disaster Planning

Top 10 Diabetic Must-Haves for Disaster Planning

In New Orleans, we are no strangers to the concept of hoping for the best while preparing for the worst during hurricane season. For diabetics, there are a few extra considerations to keep in mind. Here are 10 items to be sure you have when making your disaster plan.

  1. Medical information and important documents – Keep a list of all your medications, any allergies, medical conditions (including type of diabetes), the names of your healthcare professionals with contact numbers and complete prescription and pharmacy information. It is also beneficial to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace. Make sure you have a copy of other important documents including your most recent insurance card, living will and/or power of attorney.

  2. 30 day supply of medications – This includes oral medications, injectables, hypoglycemic kit (if prescribed by your provider) and insulin. Store insulin in a cooler or insulated bag with frozen gel packs. Do not use dry ice for insulin storage; it will freeze and damage the insulin. Also, be sure you have pen needles, syringes and a hard plastic container for disposing of sharps.

  3. Blood glucose testing supplies – Make sure you have a working meter with enough lancets and strips to last a month, and pack extra batteries that fit your meter.

  4. Hypoglycemia treatment – Treat low blood sugar (which is a blood sugar of 70mg/dl or less) with the “rule of 15.” Take 15g simple carbohydrate, wait 15 minutes, re-check blood sugar and treat again if still low. Some treatment options that are easy to carry and can stay at room temperature include: glucose tablets, glucose gels, hard candy, packets of sugar or packets of honey.

  5. Two day supply of non-perishable food – Some examples of non-perishable foods that are easy to pack include peanut butter, protein bars, meal replacement shakes and cheese crackers.

  6. Water – Whether you have diabetes or not, everyone needs to keep a supply of clean, drinkable water. The general rule of thumb is a 3-day supply.

  7. Waterproof container – Store everything for your disaster kit in a water-tight container, preferably one that is insulated.

  8. Proper fitting shoes – Be sure to have a good pair of shoes, preferably non-slip and closed toe, that fit well and do not rub or cause blisters. Inspect your feet often for cuts, sores, redness or swelling.

  9. First aid kit – If you do develop a cut or blister, you need to be able to treat it. Keep a first aid kit with sterile bandages, alcohol swabs, antibiotic ointment, etc.

  10. Communication – In addition to having your mobile phone and a back-up battery, talk with family or friends ahead of time to develop a plan. Designate a place to meet up with them in the event you are unable to reach them by phone.

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