Diabetes and Tragedy
Before disaster strikes, help yourself. If and when disaster strikes, help others
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
March 2010 — The recent record-shattering earthquakes in Haiti and Chile and the storms in the US and Europe have reminded all of us of our fragile human condition. There is little we can do to keep a lid on Mother Nature when she decides to shake or pour. However, there are things we can do to help ourselves as people with diabetes in preparation for when disaster strikes, and things we can do to help others who have been the victims of tragedies like these.
When music superstar Elliott Yamin finds himself stranded in Chile with limited access to diabetes supplies, you know that it can happen to any person living with diabetes. This is where a little planning can go a long way.
Even if you're sure that there's no earthquake or storm likely to hit your area (I'd argue disasters can happen anywhere), people with diabetes can find themselves at a serious disadvantage as a result of other events and accidents. Don't let it happen to you. Bear these things in mind:
- Prepare an emergency kit. Typical emergency kits contain things like blankets, a flashlight, canned food and water, but people with diabetes need to add a few more things to that survival kit in case they don't have access to a pharmacy or extra diabetes supplies for several days.
- Have an emergency plan in place. The time to plan is not when disaster strikes, but ahead of time. Be sure you know what to do in case of disaster.
- When you leave home, always make sure to bring extra supplies with you, in case an emergency catches you away from your primary emergency kit. And if you are going to travel overseas, make sure to follow these tips for safe travel.
After you have done all you can to be prepared for the unexpected, don't forget to help others who are struggling. Numerous organizations help those directly affected by tragedy, but they need your generous contributions to be able to cover their costs as they get the assistance to those in need.
In particular, the works of Insulin for Life and the International Diabetes Federation have directly impacted the lives of many in disaster-stricken Haiti, where more than 300,000 people with diabetes continue to need our help.
So don't wait. Whether you've experienced tragedy first-hand or not, there's always something you can do for yourself and for others with diabetes when disaster strikes.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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