How to Manage Your Chronic Disease during a Disaster

When unprecedented natural disasters occur, trauma prevention comes to mind. However, medical professionals focus on more reliable emergency plans for communities in need.

According to CDC data, individuals with chronic diseases belong to some of the most vulnerable groups. They frequently experience major obstacles in their everyday activities, such as walking or eating, and unfortunately, they are disproportionately located in areas prone to natural catastrophes.

Hurricanes, tornados, floods, and wildfires can be extremely distressing if you are suffering from a chronic disease. This guide comprehensively discusses managing a chronic disease and mitigating the risk of a serious health complication in the case of a natural disaster.

General Planning

  1. Maintain a supply of medication

If feasible, keep a sufficient supply of your prescriptions on hand, aiming for at least a week’s worth. Make a habit of rotating your medication to keep them from expiring. Consider placing them in a waterproof container or bag to safeguard them during a crisis.

  1. Create an Emergency Plan

Make a complete emergency plan for your chronic condition. Consider drug administration, medical equipment, and emergency contacts. Discuss this strategy with your doctor to receive their input and suggestions.

  1. Keep Your Calm and Ask for Help

Living with a chronic condition during a crisis can be challenging. It’s critical to be composed and seek help if necessary. 

Contact your support network, local emergency services, or officials employed by the government. These experts have qualifications like a Disaster Management Degree that enable them to manage resources and help vulnerable communities proficiently. By effectively taking advantage of their disaster management degree benefits, like developing safe evacuation plans and policies to prevent extensive damage, you can rely on them and discuss your health condition to receive much-needed support in stressful times.

  1. Prepare for Power Outages

If you depend on medical equipment that requires electricity, such as oxygen concentrators or insulin pumps, have an alternate source of power on hand. This might be battery-operated or powered by a generator. Test and preserve the backup power supply regularly to guarantee proper operation.


  1. Prevent infections or illnesses

Clean your surroundings by disinfecting and washing them regularly. Wash your hands often with soap and clean water. If they are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead.

Avoid moldy or unclean areas since they might harbor dangerous germs or allergies. Mold can aggravate respiratory issues; therefore, limiting your exposure is critical.

Seek emergency medical assistance if you observe any indications of infection, such as redness, swelling, or growing discomfort around a wound, or if you develop symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, disorientation, or a high heart rate. Immediate treatment can help to avoid problems.

Specific to Chronic Diseases

Here are some prevalent chronic diseases and the precautions you can take to ensure your safety during a disaster.


  • Keep a three-day supply of diabetes-related necessities, such as medicines, testing materials, insulin, insulin pens or syringes, and glucose monitoring equipment. It’s also recommended to keep an additional glucagon emergency kit on hand.
  • Keep your insulin, supplies, and equipment in a secure and easily accessible place. Ensure they are protected from excessive temperatures and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember that insulin can be stored at ambient temperature for 28 days, up to 86°F (30°C).
  • Check your feet frequently for indications of cuts, swelling, redness, inflammation, blisters, corns, calluses, or changes in the skin or nails. Seek medical assistance as soon as you discover an injury or wound. Early action can help avoid these issues.

Cardiovascular Conditions 

  • Understand the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and strokes. 
  • Disasters can cause blood pressure to rise, especially if you already have hypertension. It’s critical to keep track of your blood pressure regularly, especially during and after an emergency.  
  • Wildfire smoke and pollutants following a disaster can aggravate heart disease symptoms. Chest discomfort, heart palpitations, trouble breathing, irregular cardiac rhythms, or aggravation of heart failure or stroke symptoms are examples of these symptoms.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)

  • Discuss developing a COPD Action Plan and a COPD Travel Pack with your healthcare professional as part of your emergency preparedness activities. Ensure these plans and supplies are included in your disaster emergency bag and are easily available if you need to leave the house.
  • Make sure that these plans and resources are included in your disaster supply bag and are easily available when you need to leave the house.
  • Keep rescue inhalers or required drugs readily available in your emergency bag.
  • Monitor air quality and attempt to stay indoors during periods of bad air quality or as authorities advise.
  • Consider using a mask to filter out pollutants or irritants if required.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia-Related disorder

  • Pay attention to behavioral indicators suggesting increasing stress or agitation, such as restlessness, pacing, increased perplexity, or distressing verbal expressions. 
  • Prepare tactics like gentle reassurance, a quiet atmosphere, offering familiar items or music, engaging in relaxing activities, or diverting their focus to something good to soothe and comfort them.
  • It is critical to recognize that people with dementia tend to wander and quickly become lost. As a result, never leave a person with dementia alone, especially if their routine or surroundings has been altered.
  • When deemed right, share the diagnosis with others, such as hotel or shelter personnel, family members, and aircraft attendants, so they can better assist.

Kidney Disease (Dialysis Care)

  • Contact your dialysis center or local health authorities to ensure their availability during an acute situation. If your usual dialysis center is closed, they can assist you with transportation or offer alternate places.
  • If you cannot obtain regular dialysis treatments, you must adhere to the 3-Day Emergency Diet. If you are pregnant or have an infant or kid on dialysis, check with your doctor or a dietitian about modifying this diet to meet their special requirements. Adhering to this food plan can be critical for your or your child’s health.
  • If you have a dialysis machine at home, you can make manual exchanges until power returns. Consider obtaining a modest backup generator to ensure a continuous power supply for your dialysis demands.


Chronic disease management during a crisis necessitates meticulous preparation and preventive actions. Individuals can lower the risk of complications by following the relevant recommendations.

It is critical to stock up on important drugs and supplies, develop personalized action plans, and contact healthcare experts for advice and assistance. Maintaining health and well-being requires regular monitoring of symptoms, practicing proper hygiene, and being aware of possible triggers particular to one’s condition. It is also critical to seek prompt medical assistance for any alarming worsening of symptoms.

Remember that each chronic disease presents unique concerns; therefore, seeking personalized guidance from healthcare specialists is vital. By implementing these actions, you can better manage a catastrophic situation b while managing your chronic condition.


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