CDC Emergency Partners - Stay Safe After a Disaster

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Emergency Partners Newsletter


 November 1, 2017 


The information below can help those faced with recovering in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, IrmaMaria, and Nate.

Updated Key Messages

Cover of Key Messages from October 26, 2017

Use these key messages, available in English and Spanish, to share important safety information with your readers, as well as your friends and family. Feel free to copy and paste the information, links, and images into your newsletters, emails, and social media posts.

These key messages were updated October 26, 2017. Updates are in bold blue font.

This week's key messages include additional and updated messages about seeking medical care for wounds.


Managing Diabetes after a Disaster

Person injecting insulin into their a pinch of skin on their abdomen


If you are living with diabetes or have a loved one with the disease, follow these tips after an emergency.

  • It may be hard to find the food that you usually eat. Try to choose foods that are lower in carbohydrates (sugar) and salt, if possible.
  • Try to test your blood sugar often to make sure it’s in the target range. You may be getting more or less physical activity than usual and eating different foods.
  • Get medical attention for heat-related illness. Certain diabetes complications, such as damage to blood vessels and nerves, can affect your sweat glands so your body can’t cool as effectively. That can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. High temperatures can also change how your body uses insulin. You may need to test your blood sugar more often, and adjust your insulin dose and what you eat and drink.
  • Drink plenty of clean, safe, water—even if you’re not thirsty. People with diabetes get dehydrated (lose too much water from their bodies) more quickly. Not drinking enough liquids can raise blood sugar, and high blood sugar can make you urinate more, causing dehydration.
  • Avoid alcohol and drinks with caffeine, like coffee and energy or sports drinks. They can lead to water loss and spike your blood sugar levels.
  • Keep medicines, supplies, and equipment out of the heat. Insulin remains usable for 28 days at room temperature up to 86°F.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Wear sunscreen and a hat when you’re outside.
  • Don’t go barefoot.

Protect Yourself from Air Pollution

After a major storm, burning of debris, chemical releases, and other incidents can lead to poor air quality.  Individuals with asthma, COPD, or heart disease and infants and children are most at risk from exposure to air pollution, but everyone can experience effects like eye, lung or throat irritation.

When news reports the EPA Air Quality Index, or other public announcements warn you that levels are high:

  • Reduce the amount of time you spend outside and spend more time indoors, where pollution levels are usually lower. 
  • If you are cleaning up after storm damage try to do indoor work when outdoor air pollution is bad and do outdoor work when pollution levels are lower, usually in the morning and evening.
  • Choose easier outdoor activities (like walking instead of running) so you don't breathe as hard.
  • Avoid busy roads and highways where air pollution is usually worse because of emissions from cars and trucks.