How diabetics can prepare for Hurricane Florence

As extreme weather hits the East Coast this weekend, residents are stocking up on nonperishables, buying batteries in bulk and boarding up windows. But storm preparation looks a little different for diabetics, who are forced to consider their medical needs weeks in advance, Everyday Health reports.

Diabetes patients—regardless of if their condition is type 1, type 2, gestational or prediabetes—need to look “beyond the basics” when it comes to Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, early on Friday, Sept. 14, the outlet reported. Deborah Malkhoff-Cohen, RD, CDE, a registered dietician and diabetes expert, recommended packing a waterproof, insulated emergency bag for the storm, even if patients are planning to stay inside the whole weekend.

“Pack at least seven extra days of medication and supplies, and if you only use an insulin pump, make sure you write down the settings for the pump and have a backup in case the pump stops working,” she told Everyday Health.

She underlined packing oral medication, insulin, emergency glucagon in the case of type 1 diabetes, extra charges, syringes, lancets and test stips, as well as an empty bottle to dispose of supplies. Patients should also be armed with a cooler and reusable cooling pack in the case of an electricity outage; dry ice can freeze medication.

Malkhoff-Cohen also recommended stocking up on fast-acting carbohydrates like glucose tabs or chewable sugar in case of hypoglycemia, but if patients are worried about running out of medication or being unreachable in an emergency, it’s best to evacuate preventively, ahead of the hurricane.

“It’s a personal choice, but you should always opt for the safest outcome and evacuate if you have multiple ailments, trouble ambulating or breathing, or if you’re on multiple medications,” she said.

Read more advice from Everyday Health below.