Ensuring Winter Access To Your Diabetes Drugs and Doctor

In some parts of the U.S. winter weather can make getting to the doctor or a pharmacy difficult, sometimes impossible.

Anyone who relies on insulin or other diabetes medications for their well-being will not want to be caught in short supply should a blizzard or ice storm strike.

As Ben Franklin might have said on an icy winter day, “An ounce of healthcare problem prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so here are eight tips to assure your healthcare needs are met through the snowy months.

  1. Take an inventory of your prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements. Toss those that are outdated using the FDA’s guidelines for disposing of unused meds (link below). Ask your doctor or pharmacy for needed replacement prescriptions, or refills.
  2. Look up your insurance company’s early refill policy. Acquiring early refills - before a winter storm makes travel difficult - can save you from low-medication anxiety.
  3. Getting acquainted with your pharmacist makes it easier for them to anticipate your needs and offer recommendations. Keep your pharmacist’s business card in a handy spot, and available to anyone who helps you meet your healthcare needs.
  4. If a drug store in your area delivers, but is not in your insurance network, the insurance carrier might make an exception for special health circumstances.
  5. Because pharmacy inventories can be affected by inclement weather have the phone number of a trusted alternate pharmacy ready, in case your usual pharmacist cannot obtain the medication you need.
  6. Have a support network in place—people who can help you by picking up a prescription, or take you to a doctor’s appointment.
  7. Consider switching to a mail order or online prescription service. If you already have mail-delivered medications, find out how your meds are protected from extremes in temperature that can diminish the stability and potency of some drugs.
  8. Since many medical offices and clinics charge a fee for appointments missed with fewer than 24 hours notice, find out your healthcare provider’s policy concerning appointments missed because of wintry weather.

Going even one day without a necessary medication is extremely anxiety provoking. A bit of planning and action now can help you enjoy a safer, healthier, and less stressful winter.

Sources: Celeste Cooper/Pain News Network ; How to Dispose of Unused Meds
Photo credit: Bobby Hidy

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