Health, Uncategorized

Traveling Safely With Diabetes Part 2

Airplane Landing at sunset

School vacation week is here again, and summer is only a few weeks away if you can believe it.  As the weather starts getting nicer, many people start planning family vacations and weekend getaways—and after the winter we’ve had, the desire to get away for a little fun and relaxation is certainly understandable.  Last week’s post covered medication safety during travel; this week we’ll look at a few other tips for traveling safely with Diabetes.  

Before your trip, take a moment to talk to your healthcare provider and discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your travel plans.  If you use insulin and your travel plans include time zone changes, you may need more or less during travel depending on how many time zones you cross.  Your healthcare provider can help you develop a plan for meeting your insulin needs.  Also, ask for a letter explaining you have Diabetes and need to carry blood glucose monitoring supplies (and insulin and syringes if applicable).  

Any sort of long distance travel, whether it’s a vacation with friends and family or a business trip, is a change in your regular routine.  Mealtimes can be easily disrupted by traffic or flight delays, and your physical activity level may be higher than normal.  Keep a good stock of snacks on hand to prevent low blood glucose reactions (and if you have Type 1, glucagon to treat severe hypoglycemia and ketostix in case of illness during the trip.  A Diabetes Educator can review how to use both of these if you need a refresher). 

The stress and excitement of getting to the airport and arriving at your destination can affect your glucose levels, as can many sightseeing and tourist activities (it’s easy to forget that those walking tours and shopping expeditions count as exercise!).  Test your blood sugar often and again, keep some snacks or other glucose sources on hand to treat potential lows.  

Finally, be sure to take good care of your feet.  Pack comfortable, well-fitting shoes and socks and check for cuts and blisters every night, especially if you’ve done a lot of walking during the day.  It’s also a good idea to keep a First Aid kit with you to treat minor cuts and scrapes.  

Do you have any trips or vacations planned for the spring and summer?  Whatever activities your vacation includes, be safe and—above all—have fun! 

(Information reviewed by MGH Diabetes Center)