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Always Be Prepared

When you have a condition like diabetes, a trip away from home means packing a few extra items: the supplies you use to take care of yourself. And if a disaster like a hurricane or fire strikes, or even if you have simple power failure, you may need to leave your home right away. Gather a few key things ahead of time and store them in an easy-to-grab "go bag" so you're ready to head out at a moment's notice.

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Extra Medication

Put aside 7 days' worth of any medicine you take. If you have type 2 diabetes, that probably includes pills that help your body use insulin better. People who have type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 will need to pack a supply of insulin and syringes or insulin pens. Check your stash every so often to make sure nothing has expired.

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Keep It Cool

A cold pack and insulated bag is a good idea for anyone who uses a medicine that normally goes in the refrigerator. That includes exenatide, insulin, and pramlintide.

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Must-Have Medical Supplies

Don't forget about the items you'll need to test your blood sugar, such as:

  • Glucose meter with extra batteries
  • Test strips
  • Lancets
  • Empty plastic bottle or sharps container for lancets (as well as needles and syringes, if you use them)
  • If your doctor has told you to check for ketones, you should carry ketone test strips, too.


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If You Use a Pump

If you have type 1 diabetes and use an insulin pump, you should also pack:

  • Extra reservoirs and infusion sets
  • Extra batteries
  • Vials of insulin and syringes (in case the pump stops working)
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Write It Down

Your supply kit should have important information about your condition and treatment. Make an info sheet that includes:

  • Your diagnosis (type 1 or type 2 diabetes, along with any other conditions you have)
  • A list of all the medications you take, along with details about the dose and when to take them
  • Contact numbers for your primary care doctor, endocrinologist, and pharmacy
  • Contact info for family and close friends


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In Case Your Blood Sugar Drops

If it gets too low, you'll need to act quickly. Keep some snacks with you that can get you out of the danger zone, like:

  • Juice boxes or regular soda
  • Small boxes of raisins
  • Glucose gel or tablets


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Food and Water

It's important to stay hydrated, especially if your blood sugar levels tend to get too high. Put aside enough bottled water to last you at least 3 days.

You should also pack at least 2 days' worth of food that won't spoil. Good picks include peanut butter, cheese crackers, meal replacement shakes, and granola bars. Canned food is also smart. Just remember the non-electric can opener.

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First-Aid Essentials

You can buy a premade kit or create your own. Some key items to include: adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream, pain and fever medicine, gloves, scissors, tweezers, gauze, cloth tape, a thermometer, a blanket, and a glucagon pen.

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Power On

You never know when the lights might go out. That's why it's always helpful to have:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Radio (battery- or solar-powered, or hand crank)
  • Extra charger for your cellphone


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Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on January 21, 2016

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