There has been some crazy winter weather going on the last few weeks, what with a massive snow storm on the East Coast spanning from Boston to Atlanta and even some frigid, icy weather in Southern California. Hopefully everyone is staying safe and warm!
Harsh weather isn't exactly common here in CA, but for PWDs anywhere, the weather can cause major issues if a storm blocks the roadways or knocks out power, or if a wildfire calls for an evacuation. As we well know, disasters or severe weather can happen any time, so it's crucial to always be prepared — that Scouting Motto that applies so well to living with the big D, huh?
So, how do you stay safe with diabetes?
The Mayo Clinic provides a nice list of basic supplies that can save lives, which is a good start for safeguarding your day-to-day living needs. For diabetes specifically, my friend Barb Marche over at DiabetesAdvocacy.com has a great checklist going. Here's my own at-a-glance list of important items to have on hand to help manage your diabetes in a crisis:
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- A FRIO pack and a storage container to cool your insulin (FRIO packs only require water to cool, so no need for a freezer)
- Unopened bottles of glucose tablets (they're like Twinkies - they last forever!)
- A supply of non-perishable food, like granola bars, protein bars or meal replacement bars, since they are a good source of carbs, fiber and protein.
- At least a week's worth of diabetes supplies: oral medication or insulin, extra batteries for your meter and/or pump, and test strips
- Long-acting insulin and syringes if you're on an insulin pump, in case it breaks and postal delivery is unable to get to you. Pay attention to the expiration on the long-acting insulin if you don't think you'll use it right away; might be better to just keep a prescription handy and fill it if a storm is brewing
- A glucagon kit for treating severe hypos (plus someone to operate it for you)
A couple of years ago I wrote a review of the first-ever pre-made Diabetes Emergency Kit on the market. Since then, the price from the original vendor seems to have skyrocketed to $100 (!), while you can get it on Amazon.com for $80. Still pricey, but the principle behind the kit is quite good — good enough to guide you in compiling your own personal kit.
If you're looking for something specific to add to yours, like maybe an emergency water siphon or emergency candle that burns for 100 hours, go directly to the website Emergency Essentials. They've got hundreds of products, ranging from freeze-dried foods in pouches to 18-hour hand and body warmers. You can even "build your own first aid kit" at a variety of prices.
So... who keeps an emergency kit for their diabetes handy? Any special suggestions for what else could go inside?