How to Prep if You Have Chronic Medical Conditions

Prepping for emergencies is crucial for everyone, but it takes on added importance for those with chronic medical conditions. Managing a condition like diabetes or heart disease can be challenging in normal circumstances, and it becomes even more critical during a disaster. As an expert in disaster preparation, I’ve helped many people with chronic medical conditions develop strategies to ensure they can manage their health no matter what comes their way. Here’s how you can prepare effectively while maintaining your health and well-being.


Prioritize Medication and Medical Supplies

For anyone with a chronic medical condition, having an ample supply of medication is non-negotiable. Ensure you have at least a two-week supply of all essential medications. If possible, aim for a 90-day supply. Discuss with your healthcare provider about obtaining an extra prescription. Store medications properly, considering factors like temperature and humidity. Don’t forget necessary medical supplies such as syringes, glucose monitors, or asthma inhalers. Properly label all medications and supplies to avoid any confusion during an emergency.

Asthma Prep

Create a Detailed Medical Plan

A well-documented medical plan can be a lifesaver during emergencies. This plan should include a list of all your medications, dosages, and the times you take them. Include detailed instructions on managing your condition, like how to adjust insulin doses or when to take certain medications. Share this plan with family members or caretakers so they can assist if needed. Keep a copy in your emergency kit and another in a place where it can be easily accessed.

Establish Communication with Healthcare Providers

Maintaining communication with your healthcare providers is essential. Ensure you have their contact information readily available. Consider having a telemedicine option if physical visits are not possible during an emergency. Keep a list of nearby hospitals and clinics, and know their emergency procedures. If your condition requires regular check-ups or treatments, discuss with your healthcare provider how these might be managed during an extended emergency.

Stock Up on Necessary Supplies

Apart from medications, you’ll need other supplies to manage your condition effectively. For diabetics, this means having enough test strips, lancets, and batteries for your glucose meter. Asthma sufferers should have spare inhalers and spacers. People with mobility issues should ensure they have spare batteries for wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Keep these supplies organized and in a place where they can be quickly accessed during an emergency.

Dietary Considerations

Diet plays a crucial role in managing many chronic conditions. Make sure your emergency food supplies align with your dietary needs. For diabetics, stock up on low-carb, non-perishable food items that won’t spike your blood sugar levels. Heart patients should focus on low-sodium options. Always check expiration dates and rotate your stock to ensure everything stays fresh. Consider including a manual on your dietary needs in your emergency plan, so others know how to help maintain your diet.

Managing Stress and Mental Health

Emergencies are stressful, and stress can exacerbate chronic conditions. Develop strategies to manage stress, such as meditation, deep-breathing exercises, or hobbies that relax you. Have a supply of any medications needed for mental health, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds. Stay connected with support networks, whether it’s family, friends, or online groups. Knowing you’re not alone can significantly reduce stress levels.

Diabetic Insulin Prep

Maintain Routine Care

Keeping up with routine care is essential even during an emergency. This might include regular blood sugar checks for diabetics or blood pressure monitoring for heart patients. Ensure you have all necessary equipment and spare parts. If your routine care involves specific exercises or physical therapy, try to incorporate these into your emergency plan. Staying on top of your routine care helps prevent your condition from worsening during stressful times.

Prepare for Power Outages

Power outages can be particularly challenging for those relying on electrically powered medical devices. Ensure you have a backup power source, such as a generator or battery pack, for essential devices. For diabetics, this might include keeping insulin at the correct temperature. Make sure you know how long your devices can run on backup power and plan accordingly. Have manual alternatives if possible and ensure you can access these quickly.


What should be included in an emergency medical kit for chronic conditions?
An emergency medical kit should include at least a two-week supply of medications, any necessary medical supplies (e.g., syringes, test strips), detailed medical plans, and backup power sources for medical devices.

How can I store my medication properly during an emergency?
Store medications in a cool, dry place. For medications requiring refrigeration, have a portable cooler or backup power source. Always check the storage requirements specific to your medications.

What steps should I take to manage stress during emergencies?
Develop a stress management plan that includes meditation, deep-breathing exercises, and staying connected with support networks. Ensure you have any necessary medications for mental health and keep up with routine care.

Why is it important to have a detailed medical plan?
A detailed medical plan provides critical information on managing your condition, ensuring continuity of care during emergencies. It helps family members and caretakers assist you effectively and provides crucial information to healthcare providers.

By taking these steps, you can ensure you’re prepared to manage your chronic medical condition effectively during any emergency. Preparedness is not just about having the right supplies; it’s about being proactive and knowledgeable about your specific health needs. Stay prepared, stay healthy, and stay safe.