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Be Prepared!

During natural disasters, emergencies, and hazards people with diabetes face particular challenges to their health care. If you are an evacuee or are in an emergency situation, it is of prime importance to identify yourself as a person with diabetes and any related conditions, so you can obtain appropriate care. It is also important to prevent dehydration by drinking enough fluids, which can be difficult when drinking water is in short supply. In addition, it is helpful to keep something containing sugar with you at all times, in case you develop hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). To prevent infections, which people with diabetes are more vulnerable to, pay careful attention to the health of your feet, and get medical treatment for any wounds.

Large tornado

The CDC has compiled many natural disaster and emergency resources in English, Spanish, and several other languages. Below are additional links which may be especially useful for people with diabetes. Some of the following documents are available in Portable Document Format.

Emergency Preparedness

  1. Emergency Preparedness and You
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness
  2. Ready—Prepare.Plan.Stay Informed.
    http://www.ready.gov
  3. Federal Emergency Management Agency
    http://www.fema.gov

Insulin, Drug, and Equipment Advice

first aid kit
  1. Information Regarding Insulin Storage and Switching Between Products in an Emergency
    http://www.fda.gov/cder/emergency/insulin.htm
    Patients should try to keep their insulin as cool as possible, avoiding direct heat and direct sunlight as well as freezing if placed on ice. Although a physician should supervise when switching insulin products, here are recommendations for emergency situations.
  2. Blood Glucose Meters and Hurricane Disasters
    https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/
    https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/EmergencySituations/ucm055987.htm#bgm
    Heat and humidity can damage blood glucose meters and test strips. If you use a blood glucose meter, check the meter and test strip package insert for information on use during unusual heat and humidity.
  3. Diabetes Disaster Preparedness
    https://www.diabeteseducator.org/patients/disaster-preparedness
    Find important tips for caring for yourself or a loved one with diabetes in an emergency, as well as a checklist of essential items to include in an emergency evacuation kit.
    https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/spotlights/emergency-dialysis.html
    Dialysis treatment may not be available during an emergency, but these critically important steps can help safeguard your health. For immediate assistance, call the National Kidney Foundation help line at 1-888-33KIDNEY.

Winter Weather and Extreme Heat

  1. Be Prepared: Staying Safe and Healthy in Winter Weather
    https://www.cdc.gov/Features/WinterWeather/
    Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous, but if you plan ahead, you can stay safe and healthy.
  2. Prepare for Diabetes Care in Heat and Emergencies
    https://www.cdc.gov/features/DiabetesHeatTravel/

Health Advice

  1. Kidney Community Emergency Preparedness and Response
    http://www.kidney.org/help/index.cfm
    Provides essential information to help dialysis patients, transplant recipients, and kidney health care professionals before and during emergencies.
  2. Do You Have High Blood Pressure?
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/pdf/hypertension.pdf [PDF–947 KB]
  3. insulin kit
  4. Hand Hygiene in Emergency Situations
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/handhygiene.asp
    After an emergency, it can be difficult to find running water. However, it is still important to wash your hands to avoid illness or infection, especially when testing your blood glucose or treating a wound.
  5. Keep Water Safe after a Natural Disaster
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/foodwater.asp#water
    Water may not be safe to drink, clean with, or bathe in after a hurricane or flood, which can be a particular problem for people with diabetes, who especially need to drink fluids and keep wounds clean.
  6. Emergency Wound Care After a Natural Disaster
    https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/pdf/woundcare.pdf [PDF–344 KB]
    People often receive wound injuries during and after a natural disaster, and wound care is of particular importance for people with diabetes.
  7. Foot Care for People with Diabetes
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/trenchfoot.asp
    Foot wounds or infections can develop into serious problems for people with diabetes, so foot care is especially important.

General Hurricane Recovery Information

Hurricane over body of water
  1. Hurricane Recovery Information from FirstGov.gov
    https://www.usa.gov/disasters-and-emergencies
  2. Social Security’s Hurricane Information
    https://blog.ssa.gov/during-hurricane-season-be-prepared-with-electronic-payments/
  3. Information for Evacuees and Other Affected Persons
    http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/evaccenters.asp
    Health and violence prevention fact sheets for evacuees, addressing parenting stress, mental health, sexual violence, youth violence, high blood pressure, head lice, hand hygiene, carbon monoxide, and wound care.

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  • Page last reviewed: November 2, 2017
  • Page last updated: November 2, 2017
  • Content source:
  • Maintained By:
    • National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Diabetes Translation
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