Emergency Preparedness and How to Handle Children with Diabetes

Emergency Preparedness and How to Handle Children or Adults with Diabetes

Emergency Preparedness and How to Handle Children with Diabetes

Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and pandemic illness—these are just a few of the emergencies that can crop up.  While you may have time to grab essentials and go, in many cases, there are only seconds to take action.  That’s why being as prepared as possible could save your life and help you prevent serious diabetes-related health consequences after a disaster strikes. Upon diagnosis, you should take the time to read informative guides about diabetes such as those on Rolling Paper, to ensure that you have all the information you need to act in an emergency.

Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding diabetes.

Build a Plan and a Kit

Everyone with diabetes should take special steps to prepare for emergencies. In addition to supplies, keep a list of emergency contact numbers in your kit. If you are preparing a kit for a child make sure to include a copy of your doctor’s instructions for care. Ensure that a medical alert bracelet or other identification is clearly displayed too, in case you’re unable to communicate with rescuers or in case your child is separated from experienced caregivers.

Experts recommend storing a three-day supply of essential equipment. This may include:

  •   Insulin
  •   Oral diabetes medications
  •   Lancets
  •   Syringes
  •   Alcohol wipes or hand sanitizer
  •   Extra batteries for your glucometer or insulin pump
  •   An extra glucagon kit
  •   A hard plastic case or container for used needles.

Keep these items in a watertight or secure container in a location that you can access easily.  You’ll also want to ensure that your diabetic devices can be used and stored safely. Pack your glucometer and batteries in a zippered plastic bag. For natural disaster-type emergencies it may be a good idea to invest in a waterproof case.

For insulin pump users, be sure to check if your pump requires special lithium batteries. Some modern pumps don’t use disposable batteries at all, such as the Tandem t:slim. It has a rechargeable battery that can even be recharged with a solar charger, and it can also be charged in the car. This is handy on a daily basis, but also in case of emergencies.

Remember to check the contents of your kit every month or two and replace any expired items.

Other Medical Issues to Consider

In addition to the obvious supplies, you also need to include a few additional items to prevent and manage complications. These include:


Dehydration is a dangerous process for people with diabetes. Because stress can raise blood sugar levels, the body attempts to remove the extra sugar by passing it out in the urine. This process causes frequent urination and when combined with normal water loss from sweating and regular body functions, you could become dehydrated very quickly and suffer serious health complications as a result. Plan to store enough water for three days if you possibly can. You can also carry a small water purifier in your emergency bag or water purification tablets.

Good Shoes and Plenty of Dry Socks

Everyone with diabetes should take special care of their feet. Because high sugar levels can reduce blood flow to the feet and reduce how well the nerves sense pain, it can be easy to have an injury and not even know it. During times of emergency, try to avoid walking through contaminated water, and keep your feet as dry as possible. Keep several changes of dry socks and maybe even an extra pair of well-fitting shoes in your kit. Make sure to check your feet regularly for any signs of redness, cuts, or injury and if you find something, see a doctor for care.

Quick Sources of Glucose

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar can affect anyone who takes insulin or pills to control diabetes. Hypoglycemia can cause shaking, chills, sweating, nausea, irritability and much more. Every emergency kit should contain sources of quick-absorbing glucose like juice boxes, glucose tablets, or even small tubes of cake icing can be used to bring the glucose levels up quickly. In emergencies, you may be advised to let your sugar be a bit higher than you would at other times. Ask your doctor what glucose level he or she would recommend for you during an emergency.

When emergencies strike, you don’t have to be unprepared. Get started on your plan and make sure you can face any situation with confidence.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Do you know anyone who has diabetes? Do they keep an emergency kit available with diabetes supplies?

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16 responses to “Emergency Preparedness and How to Handle Children or Adults with Diabetes”

  1. Catherine c. Avatar
    Catherine c.

    Build a plan and a kit is a great tips , to prevent an diabetes ,thankfully to my family there has no diabetes

  2. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle Avatar

    I know several people with diabetes, and they all have a stockpile of diabetic supplies ready to go in case of emergency. I can’t imagine being without the necessary medication for an extended period of time.

  3. Megan Elford Avatar

    I know a few people that are diabetic, but not well enough to know what they would need in an emergency. This is a great list for people like me — knowing something as simple as how important it is for those with diabetes to not become dehydrated could be a life saver!

  4. Lynndee Avatar

    This is such a helpful article. My mom has diabetes, but I am not sure if she has an emergency kit. She does see her doctor regularly.

  5. Maria Avatar

    While I have not had to directly care for anyone with diabetes, my grandmother had diabetes, and it was tough to see her deal with some of the issues that came with having diabetes.

  6. Michelle @ Dishes and Dust Bunnies Avatar

    I have several family members with diabetes so that their safety is always on my mind. You put together a great post with some very important information! Thanks very much for this.

  7. Chrystal | YUM eating Avatar

    I have PCOS and I am overweight which puts me at risk for diabetes along with a host of other problems. I am trying to battle it now. This is a good list to keep handy in case I ever need it. So far no one in our families have diabetes.

  8. Shaney Vijendranath Avatar

    This is such an informative post and will help soooo many moms! Thank you for posting, will be sharing this with friends.

  9. CourtneyLynne Avatar

    OMG these are some really great tips! Thankfully I don’t know anyone with diabetes but glad to know what to do if I run into a situation

  10. Jessica Simms Avatar

    These are some great tips, I don’t have diabetes or know anyone who has it but reading this helped prepare me for the future.

  11. ricci Avatar

    This is such a great article for people with kids with diabetes. I have severals friends whose kids have it and I’m sure they would find this very helpful!!

  12. April @ Everyday Fitness and Nutrition Avatar

    Great advice for people that have diabetes or care for someone with it. It’s important to be prepared for any emergency.

  13. Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green Avatar

    Very helpful tips, I don’t know any diabetics but I will share this information. In my survival kid I would include allergy meds and some saline drops for my nose.

  14. Erin Avatar

    This is great for families with diabetes! Thank you so much for sharing these tips, I’m going to be sharing them with my mothers groups!

  15. Carin Kilby Clark Avatar

    Emergency preparedness is so important. Even more so when you have special needs that have to be taken care of. Thanks so much for sharing these great tips.

  16. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen Avatar

    Having a plan and building a kit for emergency is a great idea, specially these days when disaster strikes as they please!