If you have diabetes, getting ready for a trip means extra planning to make sure you have everything you need to take care of your health.
Check out these tips to help make sure you are well prepared to enjoy your trip:
• Check your supplies
Don’t wait until the last minute to pack your insulin, syringes and other supplies. Set aside what you will need for your trip in advance so you’re sure to have enough. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries as well as test strips for your glucose meter.
• Double doses
Figure out how much medication you need for the number of days you’ll be gone, then double it. You never know when your plans may change. Stormy weather, flight delays, or unexpected opportunities can cause you to change the length of your trip.
• Pack for security
Medications may be checked by security whether they are in your carry-on or in your checked luggage. Pack your prescriptions in clear, sealable bags. If possible, include prescription labels for medications and medical devices to help speed your way through security.
• Plan for prescriptions
Even if you have enough medication to get you through the trip, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor for a prescription to take with you. Be sure to pack it in a different bag from your medications in case something is lost or damaged in transit.
• Bring ID
Even if you don’t normally carry identification that says you have diabetes, do so when you are traveling. And make sure your travel companions understand your condition and what kind of help you might need if your sugar levels get out of balance.
• Keep track of time
Don’t count on meal time to remind you to take medications. Keep track of when you take medication and when you are due for more. Don’t rely on the time of day to keep you on track, especially if you are changing time zones. Keep track of the number of hours between medication doses.
• Pack your snacks
Be sure to pack easy-to-carry snacks like nutrition bars in case your meals are delayed. Also bring a quick source of glucose in case your sugar level drops too low.
• Request low sugar
Contact your airline at least two days before your flight to request low sugar meals. You can also request meals that are low in fat or cholesterol.
• Track your food intake
If you are flying, don't take insulin before your meal until you see food being served to passengers near you. Food service during a flight may be delayed, or you may not receive the quantity of food you are expecting. So double check what is being served to make sure your insulin dose matches what you are going to eat.
• Don’t forget to move
On the plane, be sure to get up and move around every hour or two to reduce your risk of blood clots.
Don’t let diabetes limit your travel options. With a little extra planning in advance, you can enjoy a safe and successful trip while still maintaining your blood sugar levels.
American Diabetes Association. Livign With Diabetes: When You Travel. Web. November 28, 2012.
Diabetes Forecast. Tips for Traveling With Diabetes. Web. November 28, 2012.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Have diabetes? Get tips for safe travels. Web. November 28, 2012.
Reviewed November 28, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith