Let’s face it: disasters small and large can strike at any time and at any place, sending the unprepared into a panic. We say this not to induce fear, but to induce preparedness — being prepared can honestly be the difference between life and death. Just remember what good ol’ Benjamin Franklin said:
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Now, is going out and becoming a Doomsday Prepper necessary? If you’d like to, please, feel free, but there’s no need for extreme survivalist craziness. What does need to be acknowledged, however, is that disaster is one thing. A disaster while dealing with a disease is another thing. And a disaster while dealing with a disease named diabetes is another thing altogether.
What we’re getting at is this: because you have diabetes, it means that you have to be that much more prepared if or when a disaster strikes. And that’s precisely what we hope to accomplish with this list. We want you to feel safe knowing that, yes, you certainly can handle both your diabetes and a disaster at the same time.
Okay, okay, so it probably goes without saying, BUT, just in case you have somehow forgotten: YOU NEED TO PACK YOUR MEDICATION. Phew, now that we have that out of our system, there are some additional things you need to consider during a disaster:
- Insulin/Insulin pump/Insulin pump supplies (make sure to check the expiration date).
- Most insulin requires it be stored within a range of temperatures. If properly sealed and stored, it will reach their expiration dates. After it is opened, if stored between 59 and 86 degrees, it can remain usable for up to 28 days. If the producer has altered it, that time decreases to two weeks after opening.
- During an emergency you might be forced to use insulin that has been kept at temperatures exceeding 86 degrees. While this is better than simply not taking your insulin, you should only do this if absolutely necessary.
- You might need to use ice to keep insulin cool, but make sure the medication never freezes. Freezing renders insulin unusable, and it will need to be discarded. If there is fear of water contamination, use dry ice to keep your supplies cool.
- Check your insulin’s appearance before use. Mixed insulin should look consistently cloudy, while all others should be clear.
- Blood glucose meter (batteries & alcohol swabs too)
- Your test strips and meters can be damaged by heat and humidity. Make sure to pack plenty of plastic bags to prevent water damage. Equally important is to do your best to keep your supplies out of direct sunlight.
- Your meter should come with proper storage and handling procedures during poor weather conditions. Follow the directions and check for the quality of your equipment prior to use.
- Urine ketone test equipment
- A disaster takes its toll on your body. Dehydration is common and physical exhaustion is to be expected. Make sure to pay attention to your body and do a urine ketone test if you begin experiencing symptoms of high blood pressure (extreme fatigue, vomiting, or increased urination).
- Oral diabetes meds (if applicable), & any other prescriptions
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But wait, there’s more! Medication alone will not be enough in a true disaster situation. Read on for the other vital components of a diabetic’s emergency kit!