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Consider chronic disease in disaster plan

As hurricane season is upon us, you never know when disaster will strike. Make things easier; be prepared and ready for an unfortunate event if it becomes necessary.

Prepare a portable diabetes disaster kit that is both insulated and waterproof containing the following items:

List of all medical conditions and prior surgeries.

Information about your diabetes, including past and present medications, any adverse reactions to medications, and past and present complications.

List of all your health care professionals with their contact information.

Letter from your diabetes health care professionals detailing most recent diabetes medication regimen (especially for insulin) and containing most recent laboratory results.

List of all medications, which should also include pharmacies and active prescription information and eligible refills.

A 30-day supply of medications for diabetes and all other medical conditions. This should include insulin, oral antidiabetic agents and a severe hypoglycemia emergency kit (if prescribed by your physician).

Blood glucose testing supplies, including lancets, test strips and, preferably, at least two glucose meters with extra batteries.

A cooler and at least four refreezable gel packs for storing insulin (do not use dry ice when storing your medication).

Empty plastic bottles or sharps container for syringes, needles and lancets.

Source of carbohydrate to treat hypoglycemic reactions. Ideally you should also have a one- or two-day supply of food that does not require refrigeration.

At least a 3-day supply of bottled water.

Pen or pencil and notepad to record blood glucose levels and any other test results and any new signs/symptoms suggesting medical problems.

Additional medical/first aid supplies such as bandages, cotton swabs, dressings and topical medications (antibiotic ointments or creams) to treat cuts or abrasions.

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Your emergency supply kit should also contain a list of emergency contacts and, if you are a parent of a child in school or daycare, physician’s orders that may be on file with your child’s school or day care provider. As always, it is a good idea to wear medical identification that will enable colleagues, school staff members or emergency medical personnel to identify and address your medical needs.

If you are a parent of a child with diabetes, it is important that your child’s school has clearly identified the school staff members who will assist your child in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Taking a few minutes right now to gather supplies and inform those around you about your diabetes, may make a world of difference in maintaining blood glucose control and staying healthy under stressful circumstances.

Other recommendations:

Wear shoes at all times and examine your feet often for infection.

Make sure that all immunizations including tetanus are updated.

Pack extra comfortable clothing including undergarments.

Consider choosing a designated meeting place in case you are separated from your family and unable to reach them by phone.

Some additional online sources to consider are ACE EmPower Diabetes Disaster Plan at www.empoweryourhealth.org/diabetes-disaster-plan and the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/tips-for-emergency-prepared ness.

Sara Rosenbaum is the CREATION Health community health specialist at Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center.