Jammu & Kashmir Floods | Cyclone HudHud in Vizag
Natural Disasters & added problems for a Diabetic
Image courtesy of piyato at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It's been a month in J&K and the water has already receded but the heavy rains in last few days have added to the woes of hundreds of families living in tents after their houses were damaged by the devastating floods which swept Kashmir a month ago. Srinagar has already recorded 23.6mm of rainfall yesterday and the metrological department has predicted more in coming days. On the other hand, the Cyclone Hudhud has hit India's coastal city - Visakhapatnam (Vizag) halting the normal life.
These natural calamities prove more fatal for young children, old and patients. Though, we have done our small effort to help the Jammu & Kashmir flood victims, we also thought of writing this article as it is will be very helpful for our diabetics’ friends to understand how they can take care of themselves in these kinds of adverse situations. As J&K is still trying to normalize, down south the collectors of all districts along the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha are still on high alert in view of the problems that has disturbed the life due to cyclone ‘Hudhud’, which will be accompanied with heavy rains. The memory of cyclonic storm Phailin that hit Odisha in October 2013 is still fresh in the minds of people. Phailin wreaked havoc in coastal Odisha although there were fewer casualties.
In the midst of a natural calamity of a humongous proportion which has affected lakhs of people in Jammu and Kashmir, people suffering from various illnesses, patients in hospitals and people diabetes will have their own share of problems which would have quadrupled due to this catastrophe. The direct problems arising out of flood has more or less abridged to a large extent but simultaneously the heavy rain falls are adding woes to the lives of people. Besides, the flood ravaged J&K may be facing an explosion of various diseases and if a person suffering from diabetes doesn’t takes care of him/her-self it may deteriorate the problems.
Let us quickly list out the major health concerns which a diabetic person in such natural calamities should be aware of and be prepared to handle them effectively:
- Frequent thirst due to lack of proper drinking water facilities
- Lack of quality and nutritious food options which a diabetic is advised to have
- Uncontrolled blood sugar level due to lack of regular exercises
- Lack of proper foot-care while walking in water clogged areas resulting in blisters or fungal infection
- Respiratory issues due to stench arising out of clogged drainage, uncontrolled garbage, and other lack of general hygienic conditions
- Increased stress for maintaining a regular and normal life while worrying about various other personal problems like ration, important supplies, damage to personal life and/ or property
A quick glance on some helpful tips for the problems stated above:
- First, accept that you don’t have much control on such natural calamities hence there is no point in taking excess stress. Diabetes responds very adversely in stress hence it is better to manage your stress levels. For more details you can read our specific blog on Diabetes & Stress.
- Deep breathing - Focus on your breathe and try to concentrate on solutions and how to help yourself as well as people around you.
- Manage the present - Don’t rush over everything and get worried of future, this attitude of thinking will do no good for your health and may adversely affect your overall plan of getting rid of problems arising out of such calamities. Break your bigger worries in smaller tasks and try resolving them step by step rather than rushing over and not able to do anything
- Try meditation to manage stress and anxiety in these adverse situations - It sounds and looks hard to believe to do meditations and focusing only on positive things but believe in yourself and answer to your problems. Do you think by worrying over things which you didn’t had control on can help you? Definitely not. Then why not to focus on making yourself better equipped to deal in such adversity.
- Spread your social wings - Build a good social support system in your friends & family to whom you can talk to when in stress, remember stress is one of the biggest enemies of diabetes. Control your stress and effectively manage your blood pressure which invariably affects your blood sugar levels.
- It’s not that hard but just keep a small note of all good things in your life - look at it when stressed and feel better
- Try some mild stretching exercises or climb up and down the staircase to keep yourself physically fit - basically, any form of exercise will help you release good chemicals to manage your diabetes
- Take good care of your foot. Fungal infection and foot problems are very common causes of hospitalization for a diabetic person. Since there will be water logging in fluids your feet will be exposed to bruises, blisters, softening of skin etc. You may try to avoid walking barefoot in water but even if you need to go in water get it properly cleaned and dry once you are out of water. We had written a detailed blog on foot care in diabetes in March, go through that for more useful tips.
- There may be a lot of unwanted and sharp metallic objects in flood waters, hence avoid getting yourself hurt which can bother you with need of extra care and cause delay in healing any cuts/ bruises.
- Diabetes lowers your immune system. Many a time people have complained of breathing issues in humid environment, since floods are brought by incense rain the possibility of humidity may also increase in the area, hence people with diabetes should be cautious. The humid environment prompts respiratory tract infections and asthma. The best solution is to keep your inhalers, sprays and medications as suggested by your doctor all the time when you go out. You may also find it helpful to keep your friends and colleagues aware of your breathing problems, so that in case of a sudden or severe attack they can be of prompt help.
- A large section of people may be going through post disaster trauma and depression due to this horrifying experience of living in such a disastrous calamity. However, look at the positive side of life and remember that there are many-many people who are worse affected and there are much more people who are ready to lend a helping hand to you and help you in continuing a new journey through rehabilitation programs.
We understand all these points are helpful only when a person keeps its calm and try to resolve the issues. For the benefit of our diabetic friends who are affected by such natural calamities we humbly propose our following diabetes help-center number on which you can call us to get any kind of advice related to managing your diabetes.
Wishing you strength and courage to fight such adversities.
Dr. MS Singhal
MD - www.Grass-Diabetes.com | Singhal Diabetic Clinic, Haridwar