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Vacations, Travel and Diabetes

Vacations, Travel and Diabetes


There is no reason for you to avoid travel just because you have diabetes. With a few extra precautions, you can take as many vacations to as many places as your imagination can suggest. A little planning and common sense are all that's required.

General Do's and Don'ts

Do carry extra supplies with you-enough to last longer than you plan to be away. That way, if you decide to extend the trip or if you are delayed, you won't have to worry about finding the supplies you need. A good rule of thumbs is to carry twice the supplies you normally need for trips of a week or less, and one week extra for longer trips.

You'll need your insulin, syringes, swabs, blood testing and urine testing equipment, some form of identification stating that you have diabetes and what your medications and dosages are. Carry extra food in case meals are delayed or missed, Don't pack these supplies in your luggage which is checked. It is safer to pack your supplies in a carry-on case.

Also Carry

  • A letter and prescription from your doctor for your insulin and syringes.
  • Motion sickness pills.
  • Medicine to relieve possible vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • Sugar cubes, dried fruit or long acting carbohydrate.
  • Before you go get extra supplies of medicines.
  • See your doctor.

Travelling by Car

Auto trips can be very enjoyable. But a long drive could leave you miles from available food at your scheduled meal times, so bring along a snack to sandwiches long as it's enough to fill the fleds of your individual meal plan. Then, even if you have car trouble, you won't take the chance of missing a meal.

If you're doing the driving be sure you have about 15 grams of carbohydrate every hour to guard against low blood sugar and a possible Insulin reaction which could affect your driving ability. A small piece of fruit such as a peach, pear, apple or orange, two large sugar cubes, a small box of raisins, or two crackers will provide about the right amount of carbohydrate. Also, don't forget the importance of blood testing during the trip to keep a close watch on blood glucose levels.

Don't keep your Insulin anywhere in the car where it could become very hot or cold, such as the dashboard or boot. Extreme temperatures can change your insulin's effectiveness. A good rule of thumb: if the temperature is comfortable for you, it is a safe temperature for your Insulin.

Buses and Trains

When you travel by bus or train, rest stops and meal times may not match your schedule. And there can be unexpected delays. Carry a snack such as packaged cheese and crackers, or a sandwich, or a piece of fruit, so that you can provide your body with the sugar it needs at your regular meal-time. And, of course, carry your insulin, syringes, and diabetes identifications with you, rather than leaving those things with your luggage. If you're travelling alone, it's a good idea to let the driver or conductor know that you have diabetes, just in case you should have a problem.

In flight Injections

On a long flight, you may be scheduled for an injection while You're In the air. Follow your normal procedure with one difference put only one half as much air into your Insulin bottle as you normally would. Cabin pressure in high-altitude flight is lower than pressure on the ground, so you won't need as much pressure inside the bottle to balance the Insulin you draw. 

Carry a Sugar Source

You should always carry some form of sugar that can be eaten easily. This could be food such as raisins, sugar cubes or a piece of fresh fruit. Any of these sources can give you enough sugar to help you avoid a low blood sugar reaction (also called an "Insulin reaction" or "hypolycaemia"). When you are travelling chances are your routine wiII be different from when you are at home, and the risks' of a reaction are greater. Even people who normally very aware of the signs of a reaction can be caught off guard by the stress and excitement of travel.

Your doctor may suggest one of the instant glucose preparations. These are designed to be given by mouth, and to get sugar into your bloodstream quickly in case of emergency. If your doctor does suggest one of these preparations, make sure that someone you're travelling with understands how to use it.

Blood Testing is a Must

The excitement and stress of a vacation, the changes in your daily routine, meal timing, and the kinds of food available can all affect your blood sugar levels. Test your blood for sugar at least times.

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