Safe travel tips for diabetics

November 14, 2014

Are you diabetic? There's no reason why you can't enjoy travel as much as everyone else. Here are a few safe travel tips for diabetics that will make any vacation a breeze!

Maintaining a normal lifestyle is very important when you or a loved one has diabetes. Travelling has its challenges but can be done with minimal disruption to a diabetic's health care if you follow a few simple steps.

Safe travel tips for diabetics

Get the right checks

As part of your travel planning, you should get a checkup from your doctor or diabetes nurse to ensure your condition is stable. With time zones potentially changing your routine, your diabetes should be well-controlled before you start. Make sure your doctor writes a prescription for any drugs you take, as you may need an explanation for your needles and syringes to get through customs. Proper documentation will also allow you to carry any medication you need to access during the flight in your cabin luggage.

If you use an insulin pump, you will need to contact the airline several weeks in advance, as they require prior notice about medical equipment. Flight crews sometimes require medication to be stored by them while the aircraft is in flight, so keep everything in one bag to avoid things getting lost.

Stay safe

When making travel plans, discuss the destination with your diabetes team. Time zones can disrupt your routine, and medical professionals can give expert advice on when to take medication and how to adjust your schedule. Hot and cold climates can also affect insulin and blood glucose monitoring, so you may need to check your numbers more frequently.

For this reason, you should take twice as many supplies as you would ordinarily need when you travel. Carry an emergency sugar supply with you at all times and wear a medical alert bracelet so a stranger can identify the problem promptly, should you run into trouble. It's also worthwhile to purchase travel insurance and have your condition declared in the policy.

Watch your diet

It is very tempting to have a drink and taste new flavours when travelling. While you should enjoy yourself, avoid drinking too much alcohol, as it can interfere with your blood glucose control and lead to a hypoglycemic attack.

You should also watch out for food hygiene when travelling. Diarrhea and vomiting will disrupt your blood glucose levels, so make sure you wash your hands regularly and avoid food at institutions where hygiene is questionable.

It is easier than ever to travel with diabetes, and with preparation, you can relax and have a good time seeing the world.

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