Diabetes in emergencies Manage your diabetes in an emergency Being prepared for an emergency or natural disaster is important – especially if you have a chronic condition like diabetes. In a stressful emergency situation, you may have limited access to food or experience a change in your physical activity levels. These situations can affect the way your body processes glucose and put your health at risk. Preparing an emergency plan is a great way to help you manage your condition in an emergency. Our checklist can help you prepare avoid potentially life-threatening situations: 1. Monitor your health For people living with diabetes, physical and emotional stress can take a greater toll on their health and wellbeing. Closely monitor how you’re feeling and frequently check your BGLs. In an emergency situation, you may get pre-occupied and forget to take care of yourself. Set a reminder to stop, monitor and rest. 2. Eat well If road transportation is disrupted as a result of an emergency or natural disaster, fresh fruit and vegetables may be scarce. Stocking up on non-perishable food items is important to maintain a healthy diet. If fresh fruit and vegetables are unavailable, consider eating frozen or canned fruit and vegetables. Salt reduced canned legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, baked beans and kidney beans are convenient yet rich in fibre and other nutrients. 3. Eat safe Make sure you know where your food comes from. If electricity is lost, food that isn’t properly refrigerated may spoil and expose you to harmful food-borne illnesses. If you aren’t sure if your food is safe, throw it away to avoid getting sick. 4. Drink safe You can check with your local council if tap water is safe to drink. If possible, stock up on bottled water, or have a filter system on hand to filter your drinking water. 5. Clean safe When cleaning up after a natural disaster, protect yourself by dressing appropriately. A long-sleeve shirt, gumboots and thick gloves can keep you safe in most emergency situations. In a bush fire, be sure to wear a suitable face mask. 6. Look after your feet Protect your feet with appropriate footwear. A simple cut can quickly develop into something more serious, like an ulcer. Try to keep your feet dry, wash them properly and inspect them frequently. Contact your doctor if you have any concerns. 7. Protect yourself from bugs Protect yourself from mosquitoes and other insects by covering up with repellent clothing. Frequently check for bites and scratches that may not be healing. Contact your doctor if you have any concerns. 8. Check your diabetes supplies Emergency situations can affect your diabetes supplies. Make sure to: Prepare a portable, waterproof insulated diabetes emergency kit to take with you at a moment’s notice. It should include a 14-day supply of prescription medication, blood glucose monitoring supplies and a hypoglycaemia kit. Additional items are needed for those on insulin pump therapy. Make sure you are familiar with insulin pump settings and passwords, insulin pump cannulas (sites) and reservoirs. Your kit should include a 14-day supply of syringes or insulin pens in case of damage to your pump. Keep insulin in a cooler bag with refreezable cool packs in a power outage, especially in warmer climates. You may need to replace your insulin if it gets damaged. Put your blood glucose monitor and strips into a resealable bag to protect them. If they have been damaged or exposed to moisture or heat, you may need to replace them. In a medical emergency, contact 000. NDSS Emergency Plan The NDSS has comprehensive resources available to keep you safe in an emergency. Read more about preparing a diabetes emergency plan.