Essentials if You Use Insulin continued...
You need to keep glucagon with you at all times. But why two kits? If you use one, you'll have another available in case an emergency occurs before you can get to a pharmacy. Glucagon expires in about a year. Keep track of the date so you can ask your doctor for a new prescription before it expires. Make sure that the people you're around the most know where you keep your glucagon and how to use it in case you pass out.
If you use an insulin pump or pod, keep these supplies handy:
- Rapid or fast-acting insulin
- Infusion sets
- Reservoirs to hold the insulin
- Extra batteries
- An emergency supply of syringes or insulin pens in the unlikely, but possible, event that the pump stops working
If you use an insulin pump, It's always good to have extra infusion sets on hand because you need a new one every few days and they have been known to get yanked out on occasion. Some diabetes educators recommend keeping an emergency syringe or pen and insulin in your purse or wallet if you pump.
Another important item to stock if you have type 1 diabetes is:
- A home ketone test, to test for ketones in your urine or blood
Home ketone test strips for urine are available at your local pharmacy. Some of the newer home blood sugar meters can also measure ketone levels in the blood, but the ketone test strip for meters is a different test strip than those used for checking your blood sugar.
Diabetes Food Stash
To keep your blood glucose at good levels, it's a good idea to have:
- Glucose tablets or other emergency sugar sources
- Healthy snacks for between meals
- Low sugar drinks (including water) to stay hydrated
Keep a good supply of fast-acting sugars in several locations – such as backpack, purse, gym locker, and car -- in case of sugar lows. Glucose tablets are easy to carry. Other possible sources include apple or orange juice or regular soda, or hard candies. Chocolate is not recommended because it takes longer to digest. If you live with other people, let them know these supplies are not for them to eat.
Diabetes Emergency Supplies
For emergencies, have on hand:
- Medical alert identification (such as a bracelet, necklace, or ID card) indicating that you have diabetes
- Emergency contact information
- Emergency preparedness supplies
The American Diabetes Association recommends storing three days’ worth of diabetes supplies in case of emergencies such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, or blizzards. Depending on how you manage your diabetes, this could include oral medication, insulin and insulin delivery supplies, extra batteries, and quick-acting sources of glucose in addition to standard supplies such as non-perishable food and water.
Store these supplies in a waterproof container in a place that will be easily accessible in an emergency. You may want to keep a set of emergency supplies at home, work, and in your car.