Travel Advice For Diabetes
Diabetes should never be a stumbling block to anything you wish to enjoy, even going on an adventurous trip. Nevertheless, it seems so daunting when you think of traveling, more so if it is to some unknown destinations, with matters concerning your diabetes care as well as those of traveling such as booking tickets, details of the travel, people to contact and reservations at hotels. Other concerns can be sending your baggage to the airplane, changes in time zone, a different climate, or counting carbohydrates while moving through a steamy forest or camel-riding in a hot desert. Even while sight-seeing, can you be able to manage your diabetes. Never mind though, with some planning, problems ought to be easily overcome. Below are some suggestions to help make your travels enjoyable, even when travelling with diabetes.
The Airport Hassle
If you intend to travel by air, the airport is the place where you may face some problems where it is normal for lots of checking for security reasons besides baggage restrictions as well as flight delays or changes. To avoid too much need for explanations on the diabetes supplies and medicines you take along, a medical ID necklace or bracelet will come in handy as most people know about diabetes these days. Your doctor’s letter with your details and diabetes history as well as a list of diabetes supplies such as blood glucose meter, lancets, strips, medicines and other necessary items will help go through security without much hassle. If you have to take insulin, remind your doctor to put into the list the type of insulin, the dosage needed or the pump and the essential items needed to use the insulin. It can also add an insulin pen and needles, pump infusion sets or syringes. Have copies of the doctor’s letter with you when you travel so that you can give a copy to the people in charge of security.
Below are the guidelines on air travel provided to diabetics by The TSA (Transportation Security Administration), which is under the DHS (US Department of Homeland Security):
- For diabetic passengers who need to check their levels of blood sugar although they have no need for insulin, carrying lancets when boarding a plane is allowed so long as the lancets remained capped and comes together with a meter for measuring blood sugar which shows the name of the manufacturer embossed on it.
- In the guideline, diabetics are advised to ensure that their insulin, no matter what is used to contain it, must have a professionally printed pharmaceutical label which states its content. As the prescription label is placed on the external surface of the box holding the small glass bottles of insulin or insulin pens, it’s suggested that passengers do not throw away their insulin box but come with all the vials of insulin inside their original box with its label intact.
- The above guidelines are applicable only to air travel within America and they can be changed at any time. Those diabetics who wish to travel out of America are advised to ask their plane companies for laws concerning this in other countries.
According to TSA and FAA(Federal Aviation Administration), syringes, jet injectors, pens, pumps and other systems for the delivery of insulin can only be taken onto a plane together with insulin. Diabetics are also told that glucagon kits ought to be kept unused in their original containers which have the professionally printed pharmaceutical labels.
Having the doctor’s letter showing the supplies as well as medicines needed can help to explain what you are taking along on your trip. By showing the letter together with the passport, the officials on duty will understand why you need those items for diabetes. Nevertheless, always be prepared to show every item and you can be assured of a hassle-free security check.
Travelling with diabetes – Video Guide
Taking diabetes Supplies Along
Your diabetes supplies can be kept in a luggage which can be put into a backpack which has rollers for easy pulling along. Security personnel will also find it easy to examine. Should there be delays, even cancellations, this backpack with its important contents stays with the diabetic. And if you are wearing an insulin pump as you go through security, you make sure the security personnel be told early about the pump so that they will not be trying to pull it out when it is felt inside the pocket.
Baggage compartments are not places for insulin as they can get extremely hot or cold; so do not put insulin inside a baggage which will be sent to that compartment since extreme heat or cold can damage insulin. Be aware that insulin must never be left very warm places such as under direct sunlight, or in trunks of cars. And if you keep your insulin in a bucket of ice, do not leave it there for the house-keeping team of the hotel to throw it out. (see Insulin Storage)
Diabetic travelers ought to get an insulated carrying container to make sure their insulin remains cool. You can make your own insulin keepers by using thermos flasks filled with ice. However, thermos flasks can be bigger and not as convenient as the commercially sold containers which is not more expensive either.
There are travel guides which suggest bringing along double the quantity of supplies to cater for problems as well as delays which are unpredictable. Perhaps, having additional supplies for an extra few days will be enough. When taking oral medicines along, it is best to take all of them in their original containers. For the blood sugar meters, you should remember to take along more batteries in case you happen to be in a rural area where batteries are not available.
Never put all your supplies and medicines in one place only. Suppose the luggage which you use to keep all your supplies and medicine has been stolen, you will be in trouble if there are no pharmacies in the place. However, if you have divided your medicines and supplies into two luggages, there will still be sufficient medicines and supplies for you until you manage to get to a pharmacy. If you have a traveling companion, it can be even safer if you can have some of your medicines and supplies in your companion’s luggage too. This is good practice if you are going to be in places far from pharmacies, such as on a trip at sea which can last for a couple of days.
Maintaining control of blood glucose
On a trip, the excitement itself can have some effect on your blood sugar control. Similarly, time zone differences as well as different levels of activity can give similar effects on your levels of blood sugar. To assess such effects, you will need to check your blood sugar often and record the results carefully. Since walks that relaxes at home can turn out to be more exciting with new sights. So, blood sugar levels need to be checked before as well as after each walking tour or physical activity to assist you to note the changes as well as patterns to your blood sugar which are so different from when they happen at home. Be prepared for any sudden decrease in levels of blood sugar with glucose tablets, hard candy, fruit juice, or regular soda. Canned fruit juice can be bought from supermarkets.
Requirement for insulin differ from one individual to another when it comes to travel. There are some who require more while there are others who need less. Be aware that international travelling not only affects the internal clock for sleeping but also the insulin clock. So, time zones can also bring changes to a diabetic. If there is insulin usage, careful, more often checking is essential to blood sugar control when moving into different time zones. Traveling east, you may require less insulin because your day has become shorter; while traveling west, you may require more insulin because your day has become longer. If you can consult your doctor on this matter after you have received a detailed plan of your journey, he should be able to advise you on any necessary adjustment to your insulin dosage.
Getting rid of sharp objects is important at all times. Many places provide containers for sharps. Even hotels do but most guest do not make use of them. No matter where you use such containers, never leave them in places where someone may get hurt. So, have proper sharps containers and, if left without any alternatives, even a plastic bottle with a cap can be used. Monitoring strips, needles , syringes and lancets can be disposed of into such a plastic bottle although they may not be so easily removed due to its small opening.
Eating while traveling
Change in climate have practically no effect on levels of blood sugar or present any difficulty in the management of blood sugar. Humid areas may cause some problems in keeping the pump infusion set in its position but this is easily solved with adhesive dressing or plastic tape, both of which can be bought at pharmacies, to close up the area.
Dry places near deserts present a different problem; that of dry skin. This is easily overcome with moisturizers, sunscreen and shower gels.
Your feet needs special attention when you go to places with climates that are not the same. Too dry or lots of sweat can cause discomfort as well as infection, which can lead to complications. A good lotion for the skin ought to be applied to the feet before putting on the socks early in the morning to counter the dry weather. For humid places foot powders can be used to dry up the feet before putting on hiking boots, tennis shoes, or thicker socks in warm, humid weather. Comfortable shoes are important when you walk around to appreciate the views while traveling. To have such comfort, new shoes ought to have been worn for short periods at home to break them in so as to prevent pinching and blisters. Take along an extra pair so that if one pair gets wet, you can change to the other pair. To protect your feet on dirty floors or the hot sandy beach, use shower shoes.
A big world to see
With traveling experience, you learn many things; new sights, new places, new foods. You also come to realize what you should or should not take along with you on your trips. More important, you learn to manage your diabetes even when you are not in the comfort of your own home. Besides the informant gained from this article, you also have your diabetes health-care team as well as your friends to assist you. With all the information you possess, traveling with diabetes can be planned with greater confidence. Out there is a beautiful, big, wide world waiting for you to see and appreciate.
^__^ Enjoy your trip to the fullest. ^__^