Hurricane Irene: Medical conditions require special preparation

2011-08-25 14:06

Patients on medications and with existing health conditions like diabetes and heart and kidney disease need to take care to ensure they have an adequate supply of needed drugs. Power outages, transportation issues and other impacts from hurricane Irene can be averted by taking inventory now to ensure preparedness.

Diabetes emergency preparedness

Diabetics can keep insulin at room temperature for 30 days. For other medications, keep a cooler handy for use with ice packs or ice.

Keep extra batteries on hand for glucometers and insulin pumps and make sure you have at least a week’s supply of medications and glucose test strips.

Make a list of all medications in case of need for evacuation. Pack three days’ worth of medicines in a first aid kid. Include your insurance card and any medical records available.

Make a list of emergency contacts, including home health agencies, rescue, family and friends. Make an emergency identification card, listing your name, date of birth, allergies, insurance information, family contact information, medications, your doctor’s name and health conditions for rescue workers. Keep it in your wallet.

Stock up on a week supply of diabetic foods that you normally would eat. Include food choices that can be eaten at room temperature.

According to the Center's for Disease Control, a freezer full of food will remain safe for 48 hours. Access the freezer only when necessary to avoid food spoilage.

Styrofoam coolers can be used to store milk, dairy and other refrigerated items, is inexpensive and can be surrounded by ice to prevent bacteria from growing.

If you have a food thermometer, check the temperature before consumption. Food with a temperature lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit should be discarded.

Heart disease

Patients with heart disease should check expiration dates on nitroglycerin used to treat angina attacks. Obtain a new prescription, which could be lifesaving in the event of sudden onset of chest pain.


Dialysis patients should make a shopping list and have the following on hand, according to the Southeastern Kidney Council:


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