Diabetes and Your Travel Plans. Tips to Help You Travel Safely

Do you have diabetes and are anxious about how it can affect you during travel? Don't worry; I'm here to help you make an excellent plan that guarantees you a comfortable and safe trip, whether by plane, vehicle or train.

Important things to include in your Travel plan

·       Discuss with your healthcare provider about your travel plans.

·       If you're on insulin, get a glucagon kit for the trip.

·       Before leaving, check the website of the manufacturer of your insulin pump or continuous glucose monitoring sensor if you use any. Calling their customer service phone number will also help you get vital travel information.

·       Ensure that each of the medications and diabetes supplies you take along has prescription labels on them. For every day or every week medication reminder pack, take them with the original prescription labels.

·       Update your vaccinations, immunization, and health records in writing, especially if it's a trip abroad. Plan to put on a diabetes medical ID bracelet.

·       Plan to refill prescriptions that may expire in the course of your trip. Note that some medications, such as insulin, may be made in different strengths. So, search for nearby pharmacies and clinics online in your destination before you start your trip.

·       Remember to always have your health insurance card on you. Also, review the travel information for your provider's health insurance policy, beginning with whether your destination is covered. If not, learn about out of network insurance coverage.

What to consider if your trip is by plane

·       If you're planning to travel to or from the U.S., go to the Transportation Security Administration website to know the guidelines for traveling with diabetes supplies and equipment.

·       Also, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for vaccinations, including tests and vaccination rules for COVID-19 needed there.

·       Buy a carry-on bag for keeping supplies, including insulin. To prevent freezing, avoid packing your insulin in checked baggage. Go with healthy food, for example, fruit and nuts. They help in preventing low blood sugar provoked when you miss a meal. Also, take lower blood sugar treatment.

·       Plan to carry along more supplies and medications than the planned duration of your trip. Note that in case of travel delays or loss, you will need extras.

·       Plan to be much earlier than usual in airports because you may encounter delays due to some security screeners not knowing about insulin delivery mechanisms and blood glucose monitoring.

·       Tell security staff that you have diabetes and are carrying diabetes supplies with you if you do. If questioned, ask to speak with a supervisor.

·       Don't allow your insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor to pass through X-ray machines. Before going through an airport body scanner, disconnect them. If you can't remove the device or don't want it, request a pat-down screening.

·       During the flight, be getting up and moving after every hour or so to combat blood clots.

Things to do during your trip:

·       In the course of your trip and while at your location, avoid leaving insulin and temperature-sensitive supplies inside a car or place with temperature changes. Visit the supplies' website for any specific information about temperature.

·       Keep monitoring your blood glucose more times than usual. Ask your doctor how often if you don't know.

·       Choose healthy meals such as fruit, salads with chicken, yogurt and sandwiches.

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