Expert Tips To Help You Prepare
So now that you are well stocked, what should your emergency plan include to help you be ready for anything? We spoke with experts like nurse and certified diabetes education specialist at Emory Healthcare, Joe Trotter, and spokesperson for the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Karl Nadolsky, D.O., to learn their best tips for staying safe in times of uncertainty.
What If You Run Out Of Diabetes Supplies
- To prevent this, consider bulking up on supplies by asking your doctor to call in a larger script in advance.
- For emergency supplies, contact the Red Cross at 877-500-8645. Visit here to find a location near you.
- Breni recommends that you have your prescriptions filled at a chain drugstore. If my sons prescription is on file at a major drugstore, then I know I can get supplies on the road, says Breni. We dont use a local pharmacy because of that.
Watch How To Help Someone Who Is Having A Diabetic Emergency
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a medical condition that affects blood sugar levels. Normally, peoples bodies maintain the ideal blood sugar levels automatically. When a person has diabetes, their body fails to maintain the blood sugar balance, so they need to manage it through diet, tablets or insulin injections.
Sometimes, a person who has diabetes can suffer diabetic emergencies, which require first aid.
What are the signs and symptoms of a diabetic emergency?
Signs and symptoms vary, but common ones include:
What happens in a diabetic emergency?
In most cases, the persons blood sugar levels become too low. This is called hypoglycaemia. It can happen when the person has missed a meal or exercised too much. If left untreated, a diabetic emergency can become very serious.
What should I give them to eat or drink?
You can give them sugary drinks such as cola, lemonade, fruit juice and isotonic sports drinks, and sweet foods such as jelly beans, chocolate and sugar cubes. The person may also be carrying glucose gel or tablets. Avoid giving them a diet drink, as it wont have any sugar in it and will not help them.
But some people have high blood sugar levels, so wont giving them sugary drinks or food make their diabetic emergency worse?
Some people do have high blood sugar levels, but giving them sugary drinks or food is unlikely to do any harm.
How will I know if this is a long-term condition for the person?
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Why Do The Plan And Kit Need To Be Updated Every Three Months
To make sure food and medical supplies are within their use-by date, and your medical information and important contacts are current.
Preparing a kit and keeping it up to date will save time. If disaster suddenly strikes and you need to leave at short notice, the kit is all you need to take with you.
How Many Supplies Should Be In Your Emergency Kit
People with diabetes should be prepared with two weeks of medicine, food, and everything else you need. A to-go bag with all these supplies in one place is a good way to be prepared .
Tell other family members, roommates, neighbors, or loved ones where this emergency to-go bag is located. You may be in a different spot when disaster hits.
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Treat Severe Hypoglycemia With Glucagon
If you develop severe hypoglycemia, you may be too confused or disoriented to eat or drink. In some cases, you may develop seizures or lose consciousness.
If this happens, its important for you to receive glucagon treatment. This hormone signals your liver to release stored glucose, raising your blood sugar level.
To prepare for a potential emergency, you can buy a glucagon emergency kit or nasal powder. Let your family members, friends, or coworkers know where to find this medication and teach them when and how to use it.
Here’s Some Things To Pack In An Emergency Diabetes Kit:
This is a great article on Emergency Insulin by Dr Steven Ponder with a PDF for changing insulin types in an emergency.
Let me know if I have left off any important supplies! We are all here to help each other out so feel free to add more info in the comments!
Join our and get support and help in the discussions!
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How To Keep Insulin Cool Without Electricity
Power outages are common during all seasons of the year from natural disasters. Spending three months in Ethiopia, where the power went out frequently, I can offer some tips to keep insulin cool when there is a blackout:
- Fill empty plastic bottles with water and keep them in your freezer. During a power outage, move these frozen bottles into the fridge to keep the temperature stable. This is only a temporary solution since the ice will eventually melt.
- Use a mini cooler with ice packs for medication like insulin. A member of the Facebook group Type 1 Diabetic Athletes Group recommends RTIC insulated coolers, which promotes keeping ice up to 10 days. Have a separate cooler for your medication to reduce the amount of time the cooler needs to be opened and closed.
- The Frio Insulin Cooling Case is a great option that does not require ice or electricity. Their specially designed pouch uses a water-activated gel to keep insulin within recommended temperatures. The company offers various sizes depending on your needs from a few items to multiple vials and pens. I used the Frio Insulin Cooling Case on the bike tour across America in hot and humid states like Kentucky, Missouri, and Washington. A squirt of water needs to be reapplied to the case every 48 hours.
Learn First Aid For Someone Who Is Having A Diabetic Emergency
1. Give them something sweet to eat or a non-diet drink.
If someone has a diabetic emergency, their blood sugar levels can become too low. This can make them collapse.Giving them something sugary will help raise their blood sugar levels and improve their bodily function. Avoid giving them a diet drink, as it wont have any sugar in it and will not help them.
2. Reassure the person. Most people will gradually improve, but if in doubt, call 999.
If you cant call 999, get someone else to do it.
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Be Prepared With A Diabetes Emergency Kit
Managing diabetes is a 24/7 responsibility. During emergencies, people with diabetes face particular challenges to their health so preparedness is key. For this reason, Lake Health recommends creating an emergency kit so you’re equipped with the items you need if you have to head out at a moments notice.
Your diabetes emergency kit should include all of the following items:
Find A Shelter That Meets Your Needs
If you have to go to a shelter during an emergency, look for one that can meet your medical needs. Do you:
- Have a home health nurse?
- Use a walker?
- Need assistance to go to the bathroom?
- Require wound care or medicine through an IV?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then its likely you should find a special medical needs shelterpdf iconexternal icon.
When you get to the shelter, tell the people in charge about your diabetes and any other conditions, such as being on dialysis. They can help you with medical care and insulin storage.
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What Else Should You Consider When Evacuating For A Natural Disaster
When you are evacuating with someone with Type 1, you should relocate to a city with a hospital. Then, if theres a crisis and you need medical care, you can get it.
I used to tell my kids to pack anything special they wanted to keep in a plastic container . We were lucky that our house flooded because of broken pumps and not the levy. I had some friends who lost everything though , and it was those people who said, Everything is replaceable except for my family.
Being Type 1 or a parent to a T1D means being prepared not only for the day-to-day challenges, but also, and more importantly, for disaster. Whether its an earthquake, fire, flood or simple power shortage, youll need certain supplies to ensure your safety or the safety of your loved one. When creating your T1D Emergency Kit, assemble these essentials, so when its go-time, theres no stopping you.
What Is A Diabetic Emergency
Aside from having a diabetic kit for scenarios like natural disasters, power outages, or a national security event, medical emergencies directly related to diabetes can happen.
Having all of your supplies in one place makes things easier to handle, and youll have peace of mind knowing your equipment is right there if you need it.
Knowing what diabetic emergencies look like and how they occur can help you be prepared. Educating your family, friends, and even co-workers about how they can help if you experience a diabetic emergency can help everyone feel more prepared.
Contact emergency medical services right away if you believe you or a loved one is experiencing a diabetic emergency.
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How Do I Prepare A Diabetes Emergency Kit
My diabetes plan for natural disasters and emergencieshas a checklist for preparing a diabetes emergency kit. It has space for you to list your medical details and important contacts.
The plan has an emergency kit checklist that will help you to prepare a portable, insulated diabetes emergency kit to take with you if you need to leave at short notice. Keep the plan and your kit together. Every 3 months check the expiry date of your supplies and make sure the medical information and contacts on the plan are up to date.
The plan is available in other languages .
Emergencies Often Equal To Stress
Stress and blood sugar fluctuations that can come with it are often to be expected in an emergency situation. Try to stay on top of your blood glucose testing and management, but dont get down on yourself if your numbers are not ideal. The storm will pass right now you just have to stay healthy, safe and confident that you are prepared!
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Type 1 Diabetes Unplugged
Long-term power outages are also a fact of life with many natural disasters, which can make food and insulin storage a challenge. And once battery power runs down, communication with the outside world may be cut off.
After being out of power for a week during Hurricane Irene in 2011, the Kaar family invested in a home generator to help alleviate these problems. Ms. Kunik also suggests a simple yet effective gadget: Buy a universal battery operated charger for less than $50 dollars. It not only lets you recharge your continuous glucose monitor as needed, but it also gives you access to the outside world on your phones or iPads.
Prepare for staying warm in cold climatesand keeping yourself cool in hot ones. Insulin pouches that cool when immersed in water may be a good investment for your diabetes emergency kit. In addition, if you have warning of a storm or snow event, make as much extra ice as possible to keep food cool in case of power outages.
Even though you will need to have back up power and batteries on hand, diabetes management tools such as insulin pumps and CGMs can be helpful in a disaster situation. When activity levels or stress influence blood-glucose levels, these devices can help make it a little easier to adjust insulin for better T1D management. However, make sure you are always prepared for the possibility of a diabetes device failure. Having an extra blood-glucose meter is important, as are MDI supplies in case of insulin pump failure.
Consider An Insulin Pump
Its not just for emergencies. In fact, an insulin pump can be an invaluable tool for diabetes management. The pump delivers insulin through a catheter in rapid, continuous doses throughout the day. Some models also monitor your blood sugar levels. If youre stuck somewhere and cant get to your other medications and supplies, having an insulin pump on hand can help your levels stay stable until the emergency is over, according to the American Diabetes Association .
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Wear A Diabetes Id Bracelet
If you suddenly lose consciousness or your ability to speak, its important that bystanders or first responders realize that you have diabetes. If you have very low blood sugar, a medical ID bracelet can save precious time for medical personnel to be able to treat you appropriately and quickly. The ID should clearly state that you have diabetes and include other key health information. You can find a wide selection of medical ID bracelets online, such as through the American Diabetes Associations online store, www.shopdiabetes.org.
A T1ds Guide To Natural Disaster
Meet Breni Crabtree an RN with specialty training in pediatrics and a mother to a Type 1. She and her family survived the Katrina Hurricane and other evacuations out of New Orleans, La. With a son with Type 1, I have to consider things I didnt consider before, says Breni. Before Katrina, we called hurricane evacuations, hurricane vacations, and we would pack 3 days worth of supplies. Now, I pack for 2 weeks. Breni also advised to prepare for traffic. Its been bumper to bumper, so you cant turn off to get something last minute, says Breni. Pack extra supplies but especially fast-acting sugars, like juices, for the interstate.
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Diabetes Emergency Preparedness Plan
It’s important for people living with diabetes, particularly those who depend on insulin, to be adequately prepared in the event of the unthinkable. Over the years Mother Nature has produced intense, damaging storms resulting in loss of electricity and evacuation. The coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic has brought increased awareness about the need for emergency preparedness for people living with diabetes.
How To Prepare For An Emergency When You Have Diabetes
Between a global pandemic and numerous natural disasters, emergency preparedness has taken on a new significance for many. While emergency situations can be difficult for anyone, they are often especially challenging for those who have a chronic illness like diabetes. Every household should have a basic first-aid kit on hand. But when you have diabetes, the supplies you need go beyond Band-Aids and aspirin. Use this checklist to expand your home’s first-aid kit so you are prepared for any situation.
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Place these items in a lightweight, waterproof storage bin with a snap-on lid, and keep the bin next to your basic first-aid kit in a dry, easy-to-access spot. Traveling? Bring your bin in the car or pack the supplies in a small pouch in your suitcase. In addition to an easily accessible emergency kit, we spoke with experts to compile their best tips to keep you safe, healthy and ready for anything.
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Disaster Preparedness And Diabetes
Think about it. Thereâs so many parts of diabetes management that are dependent on our access to electricity, running water, and transportation . So, what do we do if one or all of these things are interrupted or taken away in the event of a disaster?
Itâs kind of scary to think about isnât it?
But, thatâs why having a well stocked diabetes emergency kit ready to go at all times is essential. While some natural disasters, like hurricanes, have a warning time that allow you to prepare, others donât. Like thunderstorms, tornadoes, or earthquakes.
Having both a diabetes emergency kit and a diabetes emergency plan in place is necessary.
Stress And Your Sanity
Stress, and the high blood-glucose levels that often come with it are a natural occurrence when you find yourself in an emergency situation. Ms. Kunik reports testing like a madwoman during Hurricane Sandy, which helped her to stay on top of her blood-glucose management. But she also advises others not to be too hard on themselves in an emergency situation. Youre dealing with a major amount of stress before, during, and after a natural disaster. Dont criticize yourself if the numbers on the screen are less than stellar. Nobody expects you to have perfect numbers, so you shouldnt either.
In some natural disasters, it is not just stress that affects your well-being. Storms can be boring, keeping you cooped up inside for long stretches of inactivity and potential overeating. After the event is over, you may find yourself at the opposite end of the spectrum, overexerting yourself as you try to clean up damaged property. Be aware of these pitfalls and test often.
For kids, being able to maintain a sense of normalcy is important, both for their emotional outlook and for blood-glucose levels. Dont forget about age-appropriate entertainment. We set aside games, art materials, and books to reduce boredom and stress levels for when electricity may still not be available, Mrs. Kaar explains.
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Do I Need Insulin If I Have Not Eaten
You should continue checking your blood glucose levels as usual, even if you have not eaten. Monitoring is the only way to know how much insulin to take in an emergency situation.
During an emergency, your body processes glucose differently. Stress, changes in physical activity and the food you eat, mean you may need to adjust your medication during and after an emergency.
Managing Diabetes At School
Support for students with type 1 diabetes should be individualized, and should adhere to the guiding principle only as special as necessary. This inclusive principle fosters individual dignity, personal independence and diabetes self-management, appropriate to a students age and stage of development.
Mild or moderate hypoglycemia requires immediate intervention to prevent severe hypoglycemia, which involves loss of consciousness or seizure. Preventing and treating hypoglycemia involve several elements:
- Regularly scheduled meals and snacks, and adequate time to consume them.
- Adjusting either food intake or insulin doses for increased physical activity. In most cases at school, this means an extra blood glucose check and/or extra snack before physical activity.
- A clean area for blood glucose checks, where hands can be cleaned, with a sharps container to safely discard glucose test strips and lancets.
- Supervising young children in ways that help them recognize, treat and prevent hypoglycemia.
- For all children, ready access to their emergency kit .
- For older children or teens, accommodations for tests, quizzes or exams , since hypoglycemia is likely to affect test performance even after appropriate treatment of an acute event.
When hypoglycemia is suspected or confirmed, the student cannot be left unattended until an episode has been appropriately managed and resolved.
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