Living With

Diabetes Education and Preparing for a Disaster

Dr. Frank Varon Health Pro September 11, 2007
  • As the father of two Eagle scouts, I've participated in enough scouting activities to know the importance of this familiar mantra: Be Prepared.

     

    With recent national disasters still fresh in our minds, we hopefully have learned that we must be prepared for the inevitable. Whether you have a few days to plan or are completely surprised by a natural disastor, panic will ensue -- and necessary items for diabetes care will most likely be forgotten.

     

    The American Diabetes Association has just released guidelines on disaster preparedness for patients with diabetes in light of these recent disasters.

     

    What should I do?

     

    1. Prepare yourself mentally.

    2. Do not wait until the last minute. Make the time to properly prepare an emergency preparedness kit.

    3. Download or obtain a "universal medications form" and maintain a current listing of your medications. Include the prescription number and pharmacy of each medication. Many pharmacies keep your prescriptions on a national computer database.

    4. Keep bottled water available.

     

     

    How should I prepare? 

    • Obtain diabetes education that emphasizes self-management and stress management.
    • Have up-to-date immunizations, especially tetanus.
    • Obtain an insulated, waterproof disaster kit with the following:
      • glucose testing strips, lancets, and glucose meter
      • medications, including insulin
      • syringes
      • glucose tabs or gels
      • antibiotic ointments or creams for external use
      • glucagon emergency kits
      • prepackaged snacks
    • Have contact information for national organizations (Red Cross, American Diabetes Association) and medical and personal contact information.
    • Have photocopies of important medical information and recent test results.
    • Have a current medication list.
    • Plan ahead and evacuate early if you can with your disaster kit in tow.

     

    Where should I go?

     

    Go to an area that can support your specific health needs. Keep maps current and plan alternate locations if you must seek shelter. It is vitally important that you take the time to plan for the "what if" to ensure your safety and well-being. The Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared, says it all.

     

    Any other suggestions?