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Traveling and Diabetes:


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Issue 24 Q3 2005

Traveling and Diabetes: It's All In The Planning

Taking care of your diabetes can be tougher when you are dealing with outdoor activities and travel plans. Staying healthy and having a good time is all about planning. To ensure a happy vacation, there are several steps you should take before you leave and during your trip.

First of all, tell your doctor about your travel plans. Before you go, get immunizations and other shots plenty of time in advance and stock up on insulins and other supplies. When traveling, bring a letter from your doctor explaining your condition and consider wearing a medical identification bracelet in case of an emergency. Find out what medical facilities are near your hotel. Be aware of adjustments in your injection schedule if you’re changing time zones.

If you're flying, keep crackers, fruit or other sugar sources in your carry-on bag. Also, tell airport security that you have medical supplies. If you're wearing an insulin pump, instruct them not to remove it. Make sure your medicine has prescription labels and that you have insulin with you if you're carrying syringes. Don't stow medical supplies in your checked-in baggage — it is often stored in compartments that are not climate controlled or sits in direct sunlight when it is loaded onto the plane, which can damage your insulin.

Pay attention to where you're storing insulin while on vacation; it should never get frozen or overheated.

Also, be mindful of what you’re eating. Just like the holidays, vacations are often a time when people stray from their usual diets. You might enjoy trying new dishes and regional specialties while traveling. This is fine, but be mindful of the ingredients. Consider bringing a carb-counting book to help you stay within your carb totals. And don’t forget to count the carbs in your cocktails.

This is obvious, but it bears repeating: don't go barefoot! The romantic images of shoeless walks in the shallow tide will disappear quickly if you cut your foot on a shell. Wear comfortable, protective shoes for sight-seeing walks. And be sure to check your feet every day.

Read the Transportation Security Administration's travel tips for people with diabetes at www.bddiabetes.com/us/yourinsulin/living_traveling.asp.

Finally, and most importantly, have a great time!

Important note: The content of this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Do not disregard your doctor's advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this website.

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