Traveling with diabetes

25. July 2018

Traveling with diabetes

You´re about to go on vacation and are worried about right diabetes control without any uncomfortable glucose spikes?
We want to give you some useful tips you should keep in mind, before and during your trip, and guarantee that also with diabetes, your holidays will be fun any unpleasant surprises.

Check before you go

  • Carry your diabetes ID and a letter from your general practitioner, which says you have diabetes and the medication you need to treat
  • Make sure to take enough medical supplies you use for your diabetes
  • Find out where you can get supplies of insulin at your destination. Also, make sure that it is sold under the same name, to get the right supply in an emergency.
  • Be aware of time zone and climate changes and if you have to make any changes to your regime as these factors can affect how your insulin and blood glucose monitor work.
  • Apply for the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are travelling to a European Union member country – it will ensure that you have easy access to healthcare in that country.
  • Even if you have the EHIC, it´s still recommendable to get travel insurance, as the card might not cover emergency repatriation.
  • Before the check in make sure you notified your airline, in case there´s additional paperwork, about your medical history, you have to fill out.

Packing for your trip

  • Split your diabetes supplies in separate bags.
  • Make sure you have some diabetes supplies in your hand bag in case your luggage get lost.
  • Pack extra snacks in case of longer waiting hours than expected.
  • If you dispose over a letter from your Doctor, make sure you have it with you and double check your medications.

Sun exposure

Be careful with staying in the sun for too long as it can affect your blood glucose levels. Long periods of sunbathing on the beach can affect your diabetes control, making blood glucose levels higher than normal. On the flipside, insulin will be absorbed more quickly from the injection site in hot weather and this increases the risk of hypos. You’ll need to monitor your levels more often or let the bracelet from GlucoSentry do the testing (reading your sensor every 5 minutes!!) and be ready to adjust your diet or insulin dose accordingly. Moreover, be aware of misleading test results – extremes of temperature may affect the accuracy of your meter. Another thing to consider, if your levels are higher, is whether your insulin could have been damaged by the heat.

You have troubles watching your diet when travelling?

On holidays, we are always confronted with plenty of tasty foods and just because you have diabetes, you shouldn´t have to abstain. Just always try to keep the principles in mind and avoid too many nutritional excesses. Since clean carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet, it’s worth knowing what carbohydrates will be available locally.

Carry a doctor’s letter.

Your trip through airport security will go smoother if you plan ahead: Ask your doctor to write a letter alerting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to your diabetes and your need to carry insulin, syringes, test strips, and other supplies. Also carry with you pharmacy-labeled pill bottles and insulin vials. It will be a lot easier to explain what the sensor on your arm is for.

Make sure someone knows about your diabetes.

If you’re traveling alone, it’s important that someone on the flight know about your diabetes in case of an emergency. Alert a flight attendant when you board. You don’t have to go into details, but let him or her know that you may need soda or juice if you become hypoglycemic.

Store insulin properly.

Keeping insulin cool when you’re miles from the nearest refrigerator or ice machine isn’t as impossible as it may sound. Instead of packing a cooler with traditional ice packs, which need to be refrozen when they get warm, pick a cool pack, that doesn’t require freezing or refrigeration. Just run it under cold water for five to 10 minutes, and crystals in the pouch will keep insulin cool for hours.

Note local hospitals and pharmacies beforehand.

Looking for local medical care options is a smart idea. Find out what pharmacies and hospitals are closest to your hotel before you leave for your trip. If you skip this step and are in a bind, ask the hotel for recommendations. Staff there may even be able to help you track down a doctor if needed.

Happy summer holidays from the GlucoNightWatch Team!


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