Do you have a diabetic emergency kit?
No one knows when an emergency may strike, so being prepared for the worst is usually the best course of action. Just as you would plan for a disaster with extra bottled water, non-perishable foods, flashlights and other essentials, you should also prep your diabetes supplies.
Preparing a diabetic emergency kit
Here is a list of nine items you should have on hand.
- Plenty of insulin and a way to keep it cool. A cold storage container with ice packs is typically a good bet -- remember to store the ice packs in your freezer until they are needed. Another option is a FRIO pack, which doesn't require ice to keep your insulin cool.
- An extra glucose meter and necessary supplies. Keep a glucose meter in your emergency kit in the event that you lose your day-to-day meter. Include syringes for insulin, lancets, blood test strips, ketone strips if you use them, alcohol wipes, and a fresh log book. Check the pack periodically to make sure all the items are still within their use date. Don't forget to pack an extra set of batteries for your glucose meter, just in case.
- Insulin pump supplies. If you use an insulin pump, make sure you have extra supplies tucked away in your emergency kit. This includes a list of your insulin-to-carb ratios, a spare battery, and extra needles.
- Other medications. Don't forget to include other medications in your kit, such as blood pressure or cholesterol medication. Over the counter medicines should be included as well. Travel packs of Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and the like might come in very handy.
- Emergency glucose. Packets of glucose tablets are considered essential item for your emergency kit. It is also a good idea to have an emergency glucagon kit on hand in case it is needed. Make sure your family knows how to use the emergency glucose and glucagon kit.
- All contact information. Include a sheet of paper with the names of your doctor, your pharmacist, and anyone else who has information about your diabetes treatment plan. Include contact names and numbers for friends and family members outside your immediate area. Don't forget to include information about the medication you take, how often you take it and anything else that emergency personnel might need to know.
- Copies of all prescriptions. Include copies of your prescription for eyewear, contacts, or anything else that you might need. If you get separated from your eyeglasses or run out of your medications, those copies could be a lifesaver.
- Diabetic identification. You should always wear something that says you have diabetes. If you need emergency care, a Med-Alert bracelet or necklace can help the medical staff decide on the best treatment for you.
Put all of these items together in a safe place, one you can reach quickly in the event of an emergency. Consider using a waterproof bag and make sure your family members know where it will be kept. Indeed, preparation leads to peace of mind, especially when the unknown arrives.