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How to Create the Perfect Preparedness Kit for IBD Sufferers
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How to Create the Perfect Preparedness Kit for IBD Sufferers

How to Create the Perfect Preparedness Kit for IBD Sufferers

Having an emergency preparedness kit available at all times for IBD sufferers. This can be a lifesaver, especially when out in public. Since a flare can occur at any time, keeping these ten items accessible will give you peace of mind. This is due to knowing that you are ready for any crisis.

I Can’t Wait
  1. “I Can’t Wait Card”- This was created by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) for its members. It is a card that you can show to businesses relating that you have a medical condition. It requires immediate use of a bathroom. This is helpful when there is no public bathroom available. It will help you gain access to a staff bathroom. You can get your “I Can’t Wait Card” through the CCFA website, www.crohnsandcolitis.com.
  2. A plastic bag big enough for place soiled clothes- Keeping a bag such as a grocery bag or small trash bag in your survival kit. This will give you a place to safely hide clothes if you have an accident. This will also protect the other items in your kit from feces.
  3. Change of pants and underwear- Always having a fresh set of clothes to change into in case of an accident. This is extremely important for IBD sufferers. This allows you to keep in mind that if you do soil your clothes. You have a backup plan to prevent embarrassment in public.
Wipes, Cream, and Medication
  1. Antiseptic wipes and a towel for cleaning up- The wipes are not only good for cleaning up after an accident, but they come in handy. When there is no toilet paper available in the bathroom or if the toilet paper is harsh. Skin can get sore around the anus. So, using a soft cleansing wipe may be a better choice than toilet paper.
  2. Skin soothing cream for irritated skin- A soothing cream that you can rub onto the anal area after cleansing. This can give you relief from the itching or burning associated with persistent diarrhea. They create a barrier to irritating bowel movements. They protect the skin from further damage. They come in over-the-counter as well as prescription preparations. Check with your Gastroenterologist to see what they recommend you use.
  3. Medications- Taking your prescribed medications every day will help to lessen your symptoms. Make sure you keep medications with you. Ones that will ease the abdominal pain and cramping, heartburn, and nausea associated with an IBD flare.
Water, Meditation, and ID
  1. Water (For both cleansing and drinking)-Not all bathrooms are created equal, and some are cleaner than others. Keeping a few bottles of water in your survival pack along with the towel and wipes will allow you to use clean water to wash with. In case the bathroom conditions are less than desirable. Hydration is also essential for IBD sufferers. Persistent diarrhea can very quickly dehydrate you so keep a few bottles of water on hand to drink while you are out and away from home. Water is best for maintaining hydration, but try to avoid drinks with sugar and caffeine or alcohol as these can further add to dehydration.
  2. Meditation or mindfulness exercises-While this isn’t something you can pack into your kit, having a way to relax and meditate when experiencing the pain associated with a flare can help ease you through the moment until the symptoms subside. Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and focusing on positive imagery are all examples of mindfulness techniques that you can use to help relax.
ID and Perfume
  1. Medical ID card-Carrying a medical identification card or wearing a bracelet stating that you have IBD is a good idea in case of emergency. This can save your life if you are in need of emergency care but are unable to provide information to the physician. There are many different types of medical ID’s including bracelets, necklaces, and even those that come with a USB device on which you can place your medical history and complete list of medications.
  2. Air freshener or perfume- Sometimes, odor can be an embarrassing issue so keeping a fresh-smelling spray or perfume with you to use when you in the bathroom will help alleviate this. The smell of an air freshener or favorite scent can also help you relax. It gives peace of mind knowing that when you exit the bathroom, others won’t be aware.

While an IBD flare can occur at any time, having an emergency preparedness kit will mean the difference between an inconvenience and a huge disaster. This list is just a beginning, and you can add or delete items to meet your needs. Talking to others who deal with the same condition can also give you ideas that you might not have considered beforehand. Lastly, always keep your Gastroenterologist’s number easily accessible in case of emergency.

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