Emergency Resources and Precautions for Diabetics


Natural disasters and emergencies are a concern for everyone. But those with diabetes need to take extra precautions to prepare for the possibility of a dangerous situation in order to stay healthy and be able to have the best outcome possible. Don’t wait until an emergency strikes. Here are some tips for putting your emergency plan, as a diabetic, together.

An Emergency Kit – Assemble a clearly labelled container, stored in an easily accessible place. This kit should have a three-day supply of medication, insulin, delivery supplies, lancets and glucose. Extra batteries for meters and pumps are a good idea. Include a list of emergency contacts including health care providers and family members. If you have school-age children, include information so your children can be cared for.

Informing Those Around You – One of the most important things to do is to wear medical identification. This is vitally important if you are injured and cannot communicate. Consider informing your colleagues about your diabetes in case they are called on to assist you.  Let friends and family members know where your emergency kit is located. If you have a child with diabetes, make sure the school has physician’s orders on file, and a clearly identified staff member to assist your child.

Avoid Dehydration and Hypoglycemia – High blood sugar can lead to dehydration. In an emergency situation, be sure to drink safe water or non-carbohydrate fluids.  You should also keep something containing sugar with them to treat hypoglycemia. Know the symptoms of hypoglycemia, and inform the people around you to look for these signs:

  • Shakiness
  • Nervousness
  • Sweating
  • Irritability, sadness, or anger
  • Impatience
  • Chills and cold sweats
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Stubbornness or combativeness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Tingling or numbness of lips or tongue
  • Headaches
  • Strange behavior
  • Confusion
  • Personality change
  • Passing out

Prevent Infections – People with diabetes are at higher risk to develop infections of the feet due to nerve and blood vessel problems. Avoid walking through contaminated water or injuring your feet. If signs of infection including swelling, redness, and/or discharge from a wound are seen, seek immediate medical help.