Managing Diabetes When Traveling3 min read
Diabetics know all too well that managing the disease requires constant vigilance. Stray from your routine, and you can find yourself in trouble. But that doesn’t mean diabetics need to fear travel, whether for business or pleasure.
It does require some extra planning to make sure you stay healthy throughout your trip. Traveling is very disruptive to our routines; in the case of a vacation, that’s usually a good thing. However, for diabetics, meals away from home, changes in physical activity, and differences in time zones can all affect how they manage the disease.
Here are some tips to help you take care of yourself and your diabetes while traveling.
Visit your doctor
Before you leave, see your doctor to make sure you’re doing well controlling your diabetes. While you’re there, you should get two things – a letter and a prescription. The letter from your doctor should state that you have diabetes and need to have your medication with you at all times. Getting the prescription ensures you will have enough insulin, syringes or pills to last throughout your trip.
When you go for this visit, also make sure your immunizations are up to date.
Pack everything you need… and then some
Err on the side of caution and pack twice the amount of medication and blood testing supplies you’ll need during your trip. That way you you’ll have one less thing to worry about if there are any travel delays.
The same goes for other means of managing your diabetes, whether they are snacks, glucose gel, or tablets. You’ll want to be prepared if your blood glucose levels drop. If you use an insulin pump, you may want to consider bringing a backup pump in case something happens to your current one. And replacement batteries are always a great thing to bring while traveling.
When it comes to packing all of this stuff, keep all of your medications and syringes in the original pharmacy labeled packaging to prove the prescription is your own. If you’re flying, bring your medication in your carry-on bag – checked luggage can get lost.
Plan your in-flight meal
You can even plan ahead if you’re flying and a meal is being served during your flight. At least two days before your flight, you can call and request a special meal. Wait until your food is about to be served before taking insulin.
Consider time zone changes
If you wear an insulin pump and are traveling to a location in a different time zone, you’ll need to change the clock on the pump to reflect that change. Traveling east means shorter days. If you inject insulin, you may need less. If you’re traveling west, your days will be longer and you may need more insulin.
Maintain your health
While traveling, you should check your feet every day for blisters, cuts, redness, swelling, and scratches. You should be especially careful of hot pavement by pools and hot sand on beaches. Pack comfortable shoes and never go barefoot.
Before you leave, do some research to find out where you can receive emergency medical care while away.
Don’t let diabetes prevent you from exploring the world; just remember that you bring your diabetes with you. A little bit of planning ahead will ensure you stay healthy and your travel is stress-free.
Photo from accu-chekdiabeteslink.com.