"My Diabetes Emergency Plan"

May 14, 2013 | 6 comment(s)

At the end of 2012, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimated that 22.3 million people were living with type 1 or type 2 Diabetes in the United States. In fact, Dr. John Anderson of the ADA states, “I know of no other disease that is increasing at (about) 8% per year.” The growing rate of Diabetes among Americans is an important issue for emergency preparedness gurus to consider when addressing preparedness needs.

iStock_000014511053XSmall_diabetes_testing blood sugar

So, what can we do to adequately prepare for our families’ various health needs in an emergency?

 The American College of Endocrinology (ACE) and Lilly Diabetes outlined the importance of emergency planning for people with Diabetes and other health needs at ACE’s annual meeting (on May 1st). These two programs began collaborating after Hurricane Katrina and led to the creation of the EmPower “My Diabetes Emergency Plan.”

The Emergency Plan

My Diabetes Emergency Plan” is a comprehensive checklist (available in both English and Spanish) that helps those with diabetes prepare in advance for big and small emergency situations. In addition to blood glucose testing supplies, insulin, and medical records, some other suggested items to include in your emergency kit are:

  • Empty plastic bottles for syringes
  •  A 2-day supply of non-perishable foods (peanut butter, cheese crackers, meal replacement bars and shakes)
  •  Soda, honey, and hard candies for possible hypoglycemic reactions.
  • Cooler or insulated fanny pack to store insulin

The purpose of this emergency plan is to prepare users for a range of emergency situations from severe weather to car trouble to power outages. So, you should constantly update the supplies in your emergency kit. Updating medical supplies is especially important for those with Type 1 diabetes that must take insulin regularly.  However, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests that since insulin is a prescribed medication that you cannot store extra supplies of insulin unless your prescription and doctor allows it. But there are general guidelines and precautions that you can take.

Guidelines and Precautions for Insulin Users

According to the FDA, insulin can be stored in a refrigerated area  at approximately 36 to 46 degrees F until the expiration date on the package. If there is no access to refrigeration, “all of the available insulin can be left unrefrigerated (between 59 and 86 degrees F) for up to 28 days and still maintain potency.” The ADA also suggests that if your glucose levels go too low that you do not want to inject insulin, but you can stock up on glucose pills and candies to help raise these levels. For more information on how to use insulin during an emergency situation, check out the websites listed at the end of this post.

Sometimes in emergency situations hospitals provide insulin to patients who have their prescriptions and medical records with them. The FDA suggests that it is ok to use a different brand of insulin if your doctor has discussed and prescribed alternatives to you. This is why it is important to include up to date medical records in your emergency kit and to talk to your physician about these alternatives as the Empower “My Diabetes Emergency Plan” suggests.

Dr. Lawrence Blonde, endocrinologist, member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and fellow of ACE, states, "Our goal is to encourage people with diabetes to take steps in advance of an emergency to protect their health. It only takes a few minutes to prepare an emergency kit, and now with the added download availability of our checklist in Spanish, even more people can be ready." In addition to this comprehensive plan and checklist, there is also a step-by-step video about how to build your emergency kit that you can watch on the Empower website.

Learn more about this exciting press release and the ongoing conversation about Prepping for the various health needs of your family at the Eli Lilly and Company website

Click here to see the “My Diabetes Emergency Plan” checklist

Click here to see information on insulin use during an emergency situation:

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/EmergencyPreparedness/ucm085213.htm

 http://www.diabetes.org/assets/pdfs/ada-emergency-medical-advice.pdf

Additional Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/06/health/diabetes-cost-report


This post was posted in Uncategorized and was tagged with preparedness, emergency kit, Emergency plan, family, emergency preparedness

Comments

  • beprepared  |  May 15, 2013

    Mary- Thanks for pointing out this error. Our intention is not at all to "kill a diabetic." We have corrected this error.

  • beprepared  |  May 15, 2013

    Don,
    Thanks for this tip!

  • Mary B  |  May 15, 2013

    "The ADA also suggests that if your glucose levels go too high that you do not want to inject insulin, but you can stock up on glucose pills and candies to help lower these levels." - Um that will kill a diabetic. I think someone miss quoted/paraphrased that statement. Eating glucose pills and candy when your blood sugar is high is only going to make it go higher! They may have recommended keeping glucose pills and candy on hand so if you go LOW you won't get so low that you would need a GLUCAGON injection. But the what you have stated is VERY dangerous!

  • Don  |  May 15, 2013

    the new pre-loaded injection pens can also be stored without refrigeration for several days. also, glucose paste/gel works better than pills.

  • Patricia R  |  May 15, 2013

    I'm type 2 and not insulin dependent. I really like your yogurt bites and carry them with me whenever I go out. They are low in sugar/carbs and have a decent amount of protein, making them a healthy snack for diabetics.

  • beprepared  |  May 17, 2013

    Patricia -- and yogurt bites are soooooooo delicious! When I tried them I was really impressed with them too.

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