Diabetes Forecast

Everyday Emergencies

Diabetes 911 Teaches Preparedness

By Erin Paquette ,

Most people with diabetes can tell you about their own uh-oh moments, whether it's forgetting to take a blood glucose meter on vacation or realizing that they didn't have a snack to keep them from going too low. Fewer folks will be forced to manage their diabetes in the face of a major disaster, like a tornado or a hurricane, but it helps to be prepared, just in case. That's why Diabetes 911, a new American Diabetes Association book written by Sandra Weber, MD, and Larry Fox, MD, covers both types of emergencies.

"Sometimes you're not going to be able to reach someone for help," says Weber. "Our goal was to write something practical and understandable that you could use quickly in an emergency situation, but that you could also read through at a later time to learn more." Weber and Fox believe that this kind of information—tips for handling both everyday obstacles and natural disasters—doesn't usually make it into standard diabetes care literature. "There aren't many good books—if any—that talk about what to do in diabetes emergencies," says Fox. "Certainly none that talk about what to do in natural disasters like [Hurricane] Katrina or ... in the case of power outages."

Providing how-tos on everything from pump problems to getting through airport security, Diabetes 911 covers a wide spectrum of everyday glitches and serious pitfalls. The "Diabetes Supply Kit" section, for example, offers checklist-style instructions with lifesaving information about what to do when someone goes into a diabetic coma or is otherwise out of commission. It's a must-read for friends and family, too.

"We wanted the book to be written so that a teen could read it, the parent of a child could read it, and so that caregivers, educators, and the school system could benefit from it," says Weber. She says that staff at shelters, nursing homes, and other facilities that care for people with diabetes could also benefit.

More than anything else, Diabetes 911 is about readiness. "If you know what to have and how to be prepared, a lot of emergencies can be prevented," Weber says. And in some cases, that can mean the difference between life and death.

Diabetes 911 is available online at shopdiabetes.org.



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