How to Manage Your Chronic Disease During a Disaster

road and sign pointing to evacuation route

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, tornados, and wildfires, can be stressful if you are managing a chronic disease. Learn how to prepare and reduce your risk of serious illness during a disaster.

How to Stay Healthy During a Disaster If You Have....
  • Follow the Diabetes Preparedness Plan pdf icon[PDF – 871 KB]external icon. Store at least 14 days of diabetes supplies in your disaster supply kit, and consider having an extra glucagon emergency kit.
  • Keep your insulin, supplies, and equipment in your disaster supply kit. Insulin loses some effectiveness at extreme temperatures but remains usable for 28 days at room temperature up to 86°F. Learn how to store insulinexternal icon.
  • Check your feet every day for cuts, redness, swelling, sores, blisters, corns, calluses, or any other change to the skin or nails. Call a health care provider as soon as possible if you see an injury or wound.
  • For more information visit the Diabetes Disaster Responseexternal icon website or call 1-800-342-2383.
  • Disasters can be especially upsetting and confusing for people with Alzheimer’s or related dementiaexternal icon. Be aware of signs of anxiety or agitation in people with dementia and be prepared with strategies to calm them during times of stress.
  • If you have a family member in a residential facility, find out about its disaster plans and rules for visitors.
  • People with dementia sometimes wander. If evacuation becomes necessary, don’t leave the person with dementia alone.
  • Include information about your local dialysis center in your emergency plan and disaster supply kit
  • Ask your dialysis center for their disaster plans and where you will get treatments if the center is closed during a disaster. Your local health department may be able to help with transportation to the dialysis center or recommend another place if yours is closed. If you need more help, call the Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER)external icon Hotline at 866-901-3773.
  • If you are unable to get your treatments, follow the 3-Day Emergency Diet pdf icon[PDF – 188 KB]external icon and keep the foods on this diet in your disaster supply kit. If you are pregnant or have an infant or child who is on dialysis, talk to your doctor or dietitian about changes to this diet.
  • In case of a power failure, if you have a home dialysis machine, you may be able to do manual exchanges until the power comes back on.
More Tips to Stay Safe and Healthy During a Disaster

Have a disaster supply kitexternal icon ready to go that includes medicines, food, and water.

  • During or after a natural disaster, it may be hard to find the food that you usually eat, particularly if you are on a special diet. Try to eat as healthy as possible.
  • Physical activity can help you reduce stress, manage your condition, and cope with a natural disaster. Try to find ways to be physically active even if you are sheltering in place at home or in another indoor space.
  • Practice healthy stress management. If you feel overwhelmed, reach out to family, friends, support groups, or a health care professional for support.
More Preparedness and Disaster Resources
Page last reviewed: August 27, 2020