Dear Diabetes Sister Clara,
My name is Alice and my family is moving to coastal North Carolina. I have type 2 diabetes. Since you live on the Outer Banks, can you mention a few tips for living with diabetes during a hurricane?
I am glad you are thinking ahead to take care of your diabetes! The Centers for Disease Prevention (CDC) has published a number of resources for people with diabetes that may deal with natural disasters. The CDC recommends that you need to identify yourself as a person with diabetes and any other medical condition you have, if you are evacuated so if needed, you can get proper care. They also suggest the following:
1. Make sure you prevent dehydration by drinking enough fluids.
2. Carry a glucose (sugar) source with you to prevent low blood sugars.
3. Take good care of your feet to prevent infections from happening.
I suggest calling your local fire department to see where the closest shelters are. If a storm is headed your way, make sure you have a full tank of gas in your car. Bring your cell phone and a car cell phone charger. If evacuated bring potable emergency water with you as well as medications that you take that will last for at least two weeks. I f on insulin pack supplies the supplies you will need (syringes or insulin pens, needles Bring copies of your prescriptions, a copy of your medical history and emergency contact numbers. Don’t forget your blood glucose meter, lancing device and strips to test with. Keep your medications dry and out of extreme temperatures. Have an emergency bag that includes flash lights, a portable radio, new batteries, and snacks that will last like energy bars and carbohydrates that you can take as needed for your diabetes. Pack at least a change of clothes and raingear. Pack glucose tablets or gels. Ask your doctor about proper shoes you should take with you as well as any other special needs.
The CDC has the following links available with information for your diabetes:
1. Insulin Storage and Potency
Switching Between Products in an Emergency
2. Blood Glucose Meters and Hurricane Disasters
3. Diabetes Disaster Preparedness
Clara Schneider MS,RD,RN,CDE,LDN