Worry-free travelling… even with diabetes!

As the days get warmer, people start taking quick or extended jaunts away from home. For diabetics, however, vacations or business travel can require a bit more preparation. Here are some handy tips for avoiding any problems.

As the days get warmer, people start taking quick or extended jaunts away from home. For diabetics, however, vacations or business travel can require a bit more preparation. Here are some handy tips for avoiding any problems.

Prior to your departure, make sure your diabetes is well-controlled. You should also look into your travel destination: get all the necessary immunizations ahead of time and locate the resources that will be at your disposal in case of health problems. Also ask your pharmacist to print you a list of your medication, the name and telephone number of your treating physician, and a brief medical history – documents you should have on you at all times. It is also a good idea to get a diabetes medical ID (ideally in the language of the country you are visiting) that you could wear around your neck, wrist or ankle.

What should you pack? It is recommended that you always bring twice the amount of diabetes medication and supplies (needles, syringes, test strips, lancets, extra batteries for your blood glucose monitor, etc.) in case of breakage, loss or extended stay. These products should be kept in your carry-on baggage, and it may be prudent to have a travel companion carry part of your supplies. You should also always have a source of sugar and a snack on hand for contingency purposes.

It is very important to pack a first aid kit so that you can quickly treat any of the ailments (diarrhea, nausea, etc.) or small injuries that can occur when travelling. Consult your pharmacist to make sure you are bringing all the essentials.

In order to get through airport security checks, let the agents know you have diabetes and that you are carrying the necessary supplies with you. Make sure that all your medication is in its original packaging and bears the labels applied by your pharmacist. Syringes are also allowed past security checks, as long as you are also carrying your insulin with you.

Once you have arrived at your destination, measure your blood glucose more often than usual. If you are changing time zones, speak to a health care professional ahead of time so you know how to handle this situation.

Diabetes should not stop you from travelling, but it does require a bit more preparation. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

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