Traveling Tips for Diabetics

Once you are packed and ready to go on a trip, there are still some things you should remember when traveling with diabetes. Some details of travel can be a bit more complicated when managing diabetes and it is best to plan accordingly. Here are some tips about what to do once you are packed and actually traveling.

Plan your meals. This is one of the first things that can be significantly altered when traveling and, with diabetes; regularly planned meals are an essential part of managing your disease. Most airlines, cruises, and hotels will accommodate you with special meals designed for diabetics, if you notify them in advance. However, be sure to check your blood sugar often. When traveling, raise the number of times you check your glucose levels.

The airport can be especially taxing for diabetic people. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to make your ordeal as easy as possible. First, inform any security personnel about your diabetes and your supplies. Diabetic medical supplies can pass through airport security, but they must be labeled with a prescription and with the appropriate label from the manufacturer. Syringes can also pass through airport security, if you are also carrying insulin. In case you are using an insulin pump, make sure to tell them about it. They will look at the meter, but remember to ask them not to remove it.

Insulin injections, especially on a long flight, are a bit tricky. Do what you normally do, but remember that air pressure is different inside an airplane cabin. This means that you should only add 1/2 as much air to your insulin bottle to compensate for this change of pressure. Check with your doctor for proper insulin procedure while traveling on an airplane, as well as any changes to schedule due to time zones. Also, ask your doctor about the proper temperature for storing your insulin (33°F-80°F) and take measures to make sure that wherever you are going, you will have a proper storage place for your insulin. Never expose your insulin to direct sunlight.

Your feet can also suffer during travel and diabetics tend to have more severe foot problems than most people. Take extra comfortable shoes and change them as often as you can to prevent painful pressure points or blistering. Wear appropriate socks for the weather you will be in and always treat minor injuries to your feet with a travel first aid kit as soon as you can. Avoid being in your bare feet. There are shoes designed for walking on the beach or in the sea. Your feet should always be protected. This also goes for sandals or other kinds of footwear that leave your toes exposed. To avoid infection, do not neglect your normal routine when taking care of your feet.

If the worst happens and you need emergency medical care, try to get to an American embassy or consulate, contact the International Red Cross, or even a medical or nursing school. Make sure to learn important phrases like “Help me” or “I am a diabetic” in the language of the country to which you are traveling. Wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace is also recommended.

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