February is Heart Month, a time when we all try to work new habits and lifestyle changes into our routines so that we stay happy and healthy.
Daily diet and exercise are the first things that come to mind when it comes to being healthy, but what about things like stocking your emergency kit? Whether you already have one, or you’re in the process of putting one together, here are some areas to focus on so that you can make your emergency kit healthy too!
Emergency kits call for food that doesn’t require cooking or refrigeration (think canned goods and granola or protein bars), and that has a long shelf life so storage is easier. Not only do we need to regularly check our inventory for expiry dates, but we should also take the time to review the nutritional value of our food too.
- Add high-energy foods with protein, carbohydrates, and fat (the good kind!) such as dried meat, whole grains, and canned beans, fruits or vegetables
- Avoid salty snacks like chips or pretzels – when you have a limited supply of water, eating food that will make you extra thirsty isn’t a good idea!
- Include long-lasting protein to help you feel more full, and to substitute for your regular sources of protein (like meat and fish). Food items like natural peanut or almond butter, protein bars and nuts work great and are easy to store in your kit
- Include water! Remember that it too has expiry dates, so look for bottles with long-range expiry dates, and regularly check it’s still safe to consume when you take inventory of the rest of your kit
- Find diet-specific foods for any family member with a medical condition, such as hard candies and glucose tablets for diabetics (in case of hypoglycemia), low-sodium canned goods for those with high blood pressure (although these are awesome for anyone!), and plenty of fruit and vegetable options for those who don’t consume meat proteins
For more ideas of food that can last for both short- and long-term emergencies, check out this great list from Pritikin.
If you or someone in your family has a medical condition that requires regular or emergency, medication, make sure you have enough to last you through any disaster or emergency. It’s a good idea to have a one-month supply of your medications in your kit, as well as copies of your prescriptions, in case you have to evacuate your home or simply cannot get to your pharmacist safely.
And if your doctor has you or a family member taking baby aspirin for an ongoing heart condition or a previous heart attack/stroke, remember to stock that as well.
**Note: Always seek the advice of a medical professional before starting to take aspirin as part of a daily routine.**
As with food and other perishable items, be sure to regularly check your medication’s expiry dates (every 6-months is good!), and ask your doctor/pharmacist about the best way to store your medications long-term.
Medical Supplies & Equipment
Of course, a first aid kit is a primary part of your entire emergency kit, so you’ll want to add additional medical supplies and equipment that are specific to your health needs. Some items to consider are:
- Extra oxygen cylinders and peripheral supplies for those that need it
- Batteries for medical appliances or assistance devices
- Blood pressure monitors
- Syringes and blood glucose testing supplies for diabetics
- Extra inhalers for anyone with asthma
- An EpiPen for those with severe allergies
It’s important to prepare for any emergency, and making sure your emergency kit focuses on maintaining good health will benefit your entire household.
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