Surviving Hurricane Irma as a Diabetic

How does a diabetic prepare when a natural disaster is about to hit? Luckily, I had the ability to evacuate before Hurricane Irma hit Florida. It takes some thoughtful planning, but it can be done.

We are advised to keep water and non-perishable items on hand for a minimum of three days. In the case of Irma, many areas were without power and running water for a longer period of time. Gas stations were far and few between, so if you didn’t fill your gas tank before Irma hit, you could find yourself stranded.

Here is a list of ideas to consider:

1 – Ensure you have plenty of diabetic supplies, medication and insulin. Make sure to include alcohol or alcohol wipes, as you may be limited in washing your hands or sterilizing your injection site.
2 – Have coolers and ice packs ready. Use plastic containers and bags to store food. Include plastic cutlery in case you cannot wash utensils.
3 – Food. What should you pack? For me, I packed apples, oranges, lunchmeat rolled with cheese and spinach, carrots, celery, nuts, avocado, my Arbonne protein bars and protein powder that can be mixed with water. This is the food I brought for the road as we evacuated. Other food items: canned vegetables or jars such as artichokes, peppers, olives, whatever you like that is low glycemic. Food with fat such as olives, avocado and nuts help to keep you full as opposed to snacks like pretzels, potato chips, cookies.
4 – Set up a communication plan with family, friends, and loved ones. Those that are out of the area worry. As a survivor, loneliness and fear can increase anxiety and glucose levels.
5 – Check your feet and limbs for any open sores. Bacteria from dirty water is a serious matter.
6 – Make sure you check your glucose levels! Taking too much or not enough medication or insulin can be dangerous. Medical professionals may not be able to come to your aid in a timely manner.

Especially if you are a poorly managed diabetic, I strongly urge you to find a way to evacuate. Your health depends on it.

This is not the excuse to eat high sugar foods. The stress of going through a disaster can already increase your glucose levels.

When traveling to evacuate (which takes longer than you think) or sitting and waiting for disaster to strike, limit your food consumption. Your metabolism can’t process food as well as it should, so be kind to your body.

This is just the tip of the iceberg to learn how to reverse your diabetes and manage through a disaster. The next diabetes reversal class starts on Wednesday, October 4, 2017.

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