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Managing Diabetes During a Disaster

Seasonal disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, forest fires, and flooding are all too common. Disasters can mean you have to leave your home for a period of time. Being displaced from your home is never easy. Having diabetes places an extra burden in these situations.

Sometimes, there is little or no warning of an upcoming disaster. Making a plan can prevent sometimes life-threatening conditions. Wear a medical I.D. bracelet to identify that you have diabetes. Designate a meeting place for your family.

Evacuation, or a sudden change in your usual living situation, may not allow time to gather all your diabetes medications and supplies.

No matter the type or scale of disaster, it is wise to have a disaster preparedness plan. Gather important supplies in a kit. Place supplies and information in a waterproof container or bag.

Medical and health information:

  • Doctor’s name and phone number
  • Type of diabetes
  • Other medical diagnoses, allergies, medical history
  • Pharmacy name, address, and phone number
  • List of all current medications and doses
  • Photo I.D.
  • Contact information for next of kin and/or emergency contacts
  • Copy of most recent A1C results
  • Make, model and serial number of insulin pump (if using pump)
  • Copy of health insurance card

Medication and Supplies:

  • At least a week’s worth of all medications, including insulin and glucagon, if prescribed
  • Extra insulin pump and/or continuous glucose monitor supplies
  • Glucometer with extra testing strips, lancets
  • Sharp container or plastic bottle to dispose of lancets or needles
  • Food or beverages to treat hypoglycemia
  • Cooler and reusable cold packs
  • First aid supplies
  • Extra clothing
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Extra batteries

Diabetes and Food

It is important to be prepared with a supply of non-perishable food supplies since loss of electricity is common during many disasters. Remember to include items to treat low blood glucose. Water supplies can be affected and unsafe to drink.

Add these additional items to your diabetes kit:

  1. A two-day supply of non-perishable food:
    • Cheese and crackers
    • Foil-packed or canned tuna, chicken
    • Nut butters
    • High-fiber cereals
    • High fiber, high protein granola bars
    • Juice
    • Fruit cups
  2. Items to treat hypoglycemia:
    • Glucose tablets
    • Glucagon (if prescribed)
    • Juice
    • Hard candy
    • Regular soda
    • Honey
  3. Bottled water

Article by: Illinois Extension