Medications Are Important During a Disaster; Be Prepared

Agricultural Disaster Preparedness and Recovery, Family Caregiving May 18, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Medication Management is a Personal Responsibility

If you take medicine or use a medical treatment on a daily basis, be sure you have what you need to make it on your own for at least a week, maybe longer.

Make a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medicines you take. Include the dosage of each and other treatments. Also note any food and drug allergies. Keep this list with you at all times. This will be important information if you are evacuated and have to see a doctor in another town.

If you receive your prescriptions from a pharmacy that is part of a national chain, their computer system may have your records so that they can fill your prescription wherever you evacuate. Otherwise, you will need to have extra prescriptions for your medications on hand so that they can be filled. Talk with your doctor and/or pharmacist about specific steps to help you get prepared in case of a disaster.

If you receive medication or other benefits through Medicare and/or Medicaid, they usually provide waivers to receive those services in an evacuation location. Check with your local Health and Human Services office or Medicare for additional information.

Keeping Medications Cold During a Disaster

Many medications have specific storage instructions that must be followed. For example, some medications must be kept cool. Talk to your health care provider and/or pharmacist about how long your medication will be good without cold storage. Ask if the medication can be safely stored and transported in an ice chest or other cooler. See if your pharmacist has any recommendations for how to obtain new medication once you reach your destination.

Special Considerations for Persons with Diabetes

Everyone needs to be prepared for emergencies–but a person with diabetes has additional issues to consider. When establishing your disaster preparation kit, include a seven-day supply of some diabetic foods and a seven-day supply of medications and testing equipment. Blood sugar levels should be carefully monitored during an emergency because the added stress may cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate more than normal.

People with diabetes should tell rescue workers and/or shelter staff that they have diabetes. They should also drink plenty of clean water, watch what they eat, and stick with the regular testing and medication schedule.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.