Climate change is increasing the number of natural disasters we see every year. If you have diabetes, a natural disaster could be very dangerous if you aren’t prepared. Here are five ways you can prepare for a natural disaster if you have diabetes.
1. Stock up on water
Staying hydrated is a crucial step in staying healthy after a natural disaster. It would be beneficial to buy a case of water and store it somewhere safe. If you have time to prepare for a natural disaster, fill your tubs up with clean water ahead of time.
2. Wear medical alert jewelry
This can be a necklace or bracelet. It should indicate that you are diabetic in case you need medical attention but are unable to communicate with emergency responders.
3. Keep your insulin cool
Insulin should stay cool, but you may be able to keep it at room temperature for about a month. You should avoid keeping it in direct heat or direct sunlight, and don’t freeze it. Ideally, insulin should be kept between 56℉ and 80℉. You can keep insulin cool by storing it in a cooler near (but not touching) an ice pack.
4. Protect your continuous glucose monitor
Your continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is likely sensitive to heat and humidity. Try to keep it in a cool, dry location. Check your instruction manual for how to manage it in heat and humid climates.
5. Create an emergency diabetes kit
The American Association of Diabetes Educators recommends keeping the following supplies in your emergency diabetes kit.
- At least a week’s worth of blood testing supplies
- Insulin and Glucagon, if prescribed
- Extra batteries for your CGM
- Empty plastic bottles for old syringes
- Items to treat high blood sugar
- Items to treat low blood sugar, like juice, soda, honey, or glucose tablets
- Pen or pencil and notepad to track blood sugar
- A list of your current medications and dosages
- Your pharmacy name, address, and phone number
- Your doctor’s name, address, and phone number
- The make, model, and serial number of your CGM and insulin pump
- A copy of your health insurance card
- A copy of your photo ID
- Non-perishable food like pre-packaged tuna, beans, cheese, and granola bars
- First aid supplies
- Extra clothing, like socks and underwear
- A flashlight with extra batteries
For additional help, you can call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) Monday – Friday, 9AM – 7PM ET, Saturday – Sunday, 10AM – 3PM ET.