Preparing for day-to-day tasks can require advanced preparation if you’ve got diabetes. How do you prepare for traveling, which can interrupt your diabetes care routine? Below you will find 8 suggestions for traveling when you have diabetes.
1. Pack Your supplies
When you are traveling be sure your diabetes supplies are readily reachable. If you’re flying, make sure you place all your supplies with you instead of your checked luggage. Backup insulin should also be kept with you, because checked luggage maybe exposed to heat or extreme cold that could damage glucometers and may spoil your insulin. If you travel with a device that keeps your insulin cool, be certain it’s a cold pack and not a deep freezer pack– insulin that is freezing ruins its effectiveness.
2. Adjust Your Schedule
Your schedule is very important to managing diabetes, and it’s also important to remember to adjust for the effect of time zones when you travel. Many travelers with diabetes are so conditioned to take their insulin at a specific time, and they forget that “noon” for their bodies might be a few hours ahead of the local time. If it helps, bring a second watch that is set to your normal local time with alarms to remind you when to take medication.
3. Get a Doctor’s Note
Airport security check in will go smoother if you plan ahead. Get a note from your doctor to alert the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of your diabetes and your need to carry insulin, syringes, test strips, and other supplies. Ensure all of your prescriptions are correctly labeled with your name.
4. Extra Batteries
Pack extra batteries for your glucose monitor. Believe it or not, batteries do run out when using glucose monitors.
5. Eating Away From Home
Whenever you are eating away from home, wait until you see the food before injecting insulin. This will help avoid low blood sugar when meals are delayed (i.e., in a restaurant, on a long car trip, at a friend’s house, or in an airplane).
6. TSA Equipment Screening Precautions
Security screening equipment used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may affect how your devices work. Check with your device manufacturer’s website or customer service department for up-to-date information to prevent damage to your diabetes devices. You can also check the TSA website (www.tsa.gov).
7. Inform Others You Have Diabetes
Inform your traveleing companion(s) that you have diabetes. While it may be uncomfortable, it is important to tell individuals with whom you’re traveling that you’ve got diabetes. Tell your traveling companion(s) what they should do in case of an emergency.
8. Cell Phone Contact
If you’re bringing your cell phone with you, make sure you enter a contact in your phone book entitled, “ICE” which stands for In Case of Emergency. Many first responders are trained to look for this in a cell phone in case you’re unable to communicate due to an emergency scenario.