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Chronic Disease in Uncertain Times – Be Prepared and Plan Ahead


The following is excerpted from “NIH News in Health”, a monthly newsletter from the National Institutes of Health.

Coping with emergencies is challenging in the best of situations. During the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are just trying to get by each day. For people with chronic (long-term) health conditions—like diabetes and chronic kidney disease—the challenges can be even greater. But with planning, you can prepare what you’ll need to make things more manageable.

“Thankfully, people with chronic medical conditions have tools to help maintain their health, even during difficult times,” says Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, director of NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Managing these conditions well can help lower your risk for complications and other diseases.

Preparing for the unexpected will help you manage a chronic health condition during a crisis. Consider packing a specialized “go-kit” for emergencies. A “go-kit” should contain:

  • At least one week’s worth of medical supplies and equipment.  
  • Contact information for health care providers and emergency contacts.
  • A medication list with doses and dosing schedules.
  • A list of your allergies.
  • Information about any medical devices you use.
  • At least a three-day supply of any foods needed to manage your condition.
  • Copies of your insurance card and photo ID.
  • Copies of recent lab work you might need.

Maintaining your health doesn’t erase the risk for getting other diseases. But each healthy day is a day closer to better treatments for diseases. NIH is making a coordinated effort to help advance research on preventing, diagnosing, and treating COVID-19.

Contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns about how to prepare for natural disasters and emergencies.

Click here to read the full article from the August 2020 issue of NIH News in Health.