Traveling for work or
for holidays, should be enjoyable. If you have diabetes, a little extra
preparation can help make your trip one to remember, for all the right reasons!
Carry twice the amount of
diabetes medication and supplies than you had normally needed.
prescriptions for insulin, oral hypoglycemic agents and keto-diastix (if on
If traveling with someone,
give some of your medicines to your traveling companion, in case you lose yours.
If traveling by air, never
put insulin in the suitcase. Low temperatures in the hold of an aircraft will
cause insulin to freeze.
Obtain a letter on
introduction to doctor overseas, outlining your treatment and any other health
problems. Another letter will be needed stating you have diabetes and
authorizing your need to carry syringes and medications etc.
Carry a list of all your
current medicines (or take a repeat prescription sheet).
a simple first-aid box, which should include:
Simple pain killers like
carry some emergency carbohydrate food e.g.; dried fruit, jelly beans, dry
biscuits as departures can be delayed.
IF YOU ARE ON INSULIN
Find out the types and strengths of insulin available
in the country that you are traveling (in case of emergency). In India, U-40, U-100
is commonly used.
For different strengths of insulin, one must
use syringe of similar strength.
Do not expose insulin to extreme
temperatures. It should not be exposed to direct sunlight and should be kept at
a cool place.
Don't keep insulin in a glove compartment/dickey
or dash box of the car. Carry a suitable storage container for insulin to prevent
it from heat.
that insulin may get absorbed faster in warmer climates; hence, the chances of a
hypoglycemic attack might increase. Regular blood tests are therefore important
as you may need to manage/reduce your dose of insulin.
LONG-HAULT FLIGHTS AND CHANGING TIME-ZONES
Prepare for a long journey well in advance by
asking your Diabetes Educator to help you work out your insulin dose. Also,
discuss the effects of time changes on your diabetes routine.
Try to be flexible and be prepared for flight
If you are traveling, keep your watch at
Indian time, which will help you to know how far you are from your usual eating
Insulin and meals should be taken according
to the current time at the place where the flight started, not according to the
time of the country of destination.
EATING AND DRINKING
Carry sandwiches/biscuits or cereal bars to
cover any unexpected delays in travel. Remember to take this in your hand
luggage and not to put this in the hold of a plane.
Take sweeteners with you i.e. sugar pouchs mishri
Airline meals may not contain sufficient
carbohydrate. It is better to ask for an "ordinary" meal rather than
asking special "diabetic" meal, or to carry extra bread, a roll or
fruit with you.
Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach. It
is advised to avoid alcohol before and during flights in order to prevent
dehydration, high blood glucose levels and fatigue. In hot climates drink
plenty of sugar-free fluids to prevent dehydration.
Wear/carry comfortable, well-fitting shoes.
Never go barefoot.
On the beach, do not walk barefoot,
especially on hot sand. Wear sandals or surf sandals to prevent injury.
Watch out for sharp objects on the beach or
while you are swimming.
Inspect your feet every morning and evening
If you develop a blister, cover it with a sterile
pad and keep it clean.
IN A NUTSHELL
Preparation is the key to successful
traveling when you have diabetes. See your doctor before the trip in order to
address any issues that are relevant to your trip.
Extra supplies, including insulin, test
strips and carbohydrate food are a necessity. Make sure you know where supplies
can be obtained at your destination, if needed.
Blood glucose levels can be affected by
flying and by changes to time, meals and activity levels when traveling.
Monitor blood glucose levels regularly and be prepared to adjust your insulin accordingly.