Preparing for Emergencies
As Hurricane Matthew rolls along Florida’s shores Thursday, experts told Diabetes Forecast how people with diabetes can best prepare to ride out the storm. In anticipation of widespread power outages and possible flooding, experts encouraged people to have these on hand:
A week's worth of medication. This includes prescription medications and any over-the-counter products you use.
Glucose tabs or gel in case of lows. Carry these rapidly absorbed, measured glucose sources on your person so that you have immediate access.
Medical ID. This could be worn as a necklace or bracelet.
Injection supplies. For insulin and other injectables, it’s recommended that you have extra syringes and vials and/or insulin pens and needles on hand, as well as a protective container for sharps disposal. Extra alcohol wipes can come in handy if you can't easily wash your hands or bathe. Rotate through your stockpile to use the insulin before it expires.
Insulin pump alternative. If you use a pump, in addition to storing cartridges, infusion sets, prep wipes, and batteries, consider having a backup method of insulin delivery and long-acting insulin to replace your total basal units. Insulin pens can fit that bill: They're convenient, provide accurate dosing, and produce less waste than syringes. You'll need disposable needles for the pens.
A blood glucose meter. Along with a meter, pack a lancing device, lancets, alcohol swabs, test strips, control solution, and extra batteries. Continuous glucose monitor users will want sensors and device chargers.
Recent medical records. Keeping your medical records and a list of prescriptions and dosages is recommended in the event that you need assistance from the American Red Cross or other volunteer organizations.
A carry-all bag. Keep unopened insulin in a cold pack or insulated waterproof container, along with your charged-up smart phone and a first-aid kit.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website also recommends that residents keep away from windows to avoid getting hit with broken glass if windows should shatter. Stay in a closet or bathroom until the storm passes, and take your diabetes meds and supplies with you, along with bottles of water, your smartphone and flashlights.