Travel Tips for Patients with Diabetes

Ms. Holt's Summer Travel Tip- "Regarding insulin therapy, remember that insulin is temperature sensitive and may lose its potency when exposed to extreme temperatures. Store insulin pens that your are actively using at room temperature. Store all insulin vials and all insulin pens not actively using in a refrigerator or insulated cooler.

Travel Tips for patients with Diabetes.

#1 Supplies: Make sure to keep all blood glucose testing supplies, medications, and injection supplies close at hand at all times. When travelling by air plane, this is very important in regards to high risks of lost checked luggage. In the case of car travel keep a small cooler, or ice pack handy to store insulin and medications that are required to be stored at certain temperature levels. Avoid keeping medications in the trunk as the temperature is well regulated.

#2 Routine. Vacations and travel plans can always throw a wrench in your normal routine. Routine plays a very large part in diabetes management. Especially with insulin injection therapy it is important to not skip meals. If you notice increased
snacks or portions, make sure to check your blood glucose to avoid hyperglycemia.

#3 Documentation. Ask your doctor for a letter stating that you have diabetes, and need to have your medication with you at all times. Wear some sort of medical alert jewelry or carry a card in your purse or wallet. Often times on vacation you will notice increased activity with walking or swimming. Increased activity can lead to low blood sugar levels. Always having
medical identification will help EMS identify and assess any medical emergencies. If you are traveling to a country that speaks a different language, make sure to have documentation in the countries native language. Also learn how to speak
phrases such as “I have diabetes”, “I need a doctor”, “Where is the closest hospital”.

#4 Inform Airport Security. When flying, remember to check the current FAA guidelines for carrying medications and insulins and medications. Place your diabetes supplies in a seperate quart size plastic container from the other non-diabetes liquids. Notify the security that you have diabetic medications and show documentation of your diagnosis. It may also be helpful to carry a list of medications printed from your pharmacy.

#5 Be prepared for a low. Always carry glucose tabs, or non-diet drink to treat any low blood glucose levels. Remember, increased activity, heat, and changes in dietary routine can cause hypoglycemia. Always be prepared to treat a low blood sugar immediately.

#6 Don’t guess on what you are eating. If your meal time insulin dose is dependent on how many carbohydrates you are eating make sure you are counting your carbohydrates correctly and measuring portion sizes. There are some apps that you can download on your smart phone that may help with foods from restaurants “My Fitness Pal”, and carry a pocket Calorie King book that has many restaurant and food nutritional values.

#7 Its ok to over pack. Even if you are traveling for 1 week, pack extra medication and supplies. When traveling overseas, or out of state, ask your doctor for a handwritten prescription in the event that you lose or run out of medication and you have to use a local pharmacy.

#8 Don’t forget about time change. If you are wearing an insulin pump that has specific times settings, make sure to change the time in your pump. This is important so that you continue to get the correct basal/bolus setting at the correct time of day.

#9 Check your blood sugar. Vacations are fun an relaxing, but unfortunately we cannot take a vacation from Diabetes. Make sure to continue to check BG levels as frequently as you would when at home. Treat high blood sugars accordingly to avoid wide fluctuations in your blood glucose levels.

#10 Don’t keep your diabetes a secret, When travelling with a group, make sure to tell others around you about your diabetes as well of signs to look for when having a high or low blood sugar.

"Diabetes and Travel -- 10 Tips for a Safe Trip" Joslin Diabetes Center, 2015. Web. June 19, 2015.



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