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Hurricane Preparedness: Emergency Preparations for Diabetics
6/1/2020 1:00:00 PM

Diabetics Emergency Prepare


"Changes in routine and conditions can cause anxiety and potential problems,” said Cynthia Chantlin, RD, diabetes coordinator with West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. "For diabetics, regular monitoring of blood glucose levels is an important component of routine care. In addition, maintaining a healthy nutrition plan is essential in controlling the ups and downs of sugar levels. Should the storm impact our weather, those with diabetes or those caring for a loved one with diabetes will fare better if they’ve planned ahead.”


Tropical storms and hurricanes bring challenges to areas of impact. Roads could be impassable for days due to heavy rain or high winds; electricity and water service will probably be interrupted for many hours, if not days; and medical services might not be able to reach someone who needs help, should an emergency arise. 

"It’s a good idea to talk with your physician or caregiver about what kind of arrangements to make should a storm arise,” suggested Chantlin. "He or she might mention things you haven’t yet considered.” 


Chantlin listed the following items:


Updated list of medications 

In addition to writing out a list, have the actual medication bottles handy. If you evacuate, take them along. You may need information contained on the label, such as milligram amounts and dosage information, to obtain refills, especially if you’re evacuated and working with a different pharmacy.


30-day supply of medications

Be sure to include extra insulin, cold packs for the insulin, if needed, as well as testing supplies, and any other medications taken on a regular basis. 


Non-perishable, diabetic-friendly food options 

There are several non-perishable food options that help keep blood sugar stable, such as peanut butter, protein bars and powdered milk. These food options travel well, need no refrigeration, and can help keep diabetics fueled with good nutrition. 


Plenty of water 

Stock up on bottled water and drink it often in order to stay hydrated.


Sturdy shoes

While it may seem like an odd necessity, diabetics need to be very careful of their foot health. Nerve damage is one of the risk factors of diabetes. In an emergency situation, there could be glass or objects on the ground. Diabetics should take precautions to limit cuts or wounds to their feet. 


"If the patient is on dialysis, they should definitely plan ahead should a storm impact their area,” said Chantlin. "Their health care provider can help find an alternative site in an evacuation so dialysis won’t be interrupted.” Above all, careful planning will result in a healthier experience and help avoid potential health problems.  


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