Diabetes is an extremely common chronic condition that thousands of people are diagnosed with everyday. In the United States alone, 29 million people live with the life long condition and the UK is well on it’s way to catching up. Diabetes is the fastest growing health threat that exists today and in just 20 years, the amount of people living with the condition has more than doubled.
Seeing as so many people have the condition, we’ve had to come up with ways to cope with the condition whilst trying to live a normal life.
It can be a little fiddly, and it’s something that must always be considered in day to day life as it never goes away, but that doesn’t mean that people who are diagnosed with diabetes can’t live life like everyone else.
People with diabetes still have careers, families, hobbies… and of course, travel is also still at the top of the priority list for luxuries too. When holiday season hits, everyone starts to plan their next trip away. It can be a stressful time as it’s important to pack the right clothes, get to the right airport and then to navigate around a foreign country with possible language barriers.
So with that in mind, imagine the stress of planning a holiday when you have diabetes, a condition that impacts onto everyday life. If you’re diabetic and off on holiday soon, follow these easy tips on how to manage the condition safely when travelling.
- Get a doctor’s letter
Get this sorted well before you’re due to fly and make sure you carry it on your person. It will make getting through security much easier as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will want to know why you’re carrying diabetic supplies such as insulin, syringes and test strips. Also, make sure that you’re pill bottles are all pharmacy labelled. Alternatively, you can order metformin tablets for diabetes online which will come in a labelled box with instructions to make explaining everything far easier.
- Stock up on the right snacks
Managing your blood sugar levels can be extremely difficult and so you want to ensure you’re equipped for both the highs and lows. Stock up on sweets and soda to treat any lows that may occur and take healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, yoghurt, vegetables, seeds, salads and sandwiches for the flight.
- All things insulin
Make sure you have all matters insulin related covered at least a month before you travel. It’s difficult for those with diabetes as crossing time zones means adjusting insult injections. Consult a doctor well in advance so that they can help devise a plan for the changes that will need to take place.
- Meal plans
Eating abroad is tricky for anyone, as we’re completely out of our comfort `zone and therefore don’t know what we do and don’t like. Do a little research on the cuisine and check what’s safe to eat and what will send your blood sugar levels off the roof.
It’s also a good idea to plan your in flight meals ahead. Airplane food leaves a lot to be desired health wise and the good ones sell out fast. Pick an airline that allows you to choose a meal beforehand or call them to see what they can arrange.
- If you’re travelling alone, alert someone about your condition
If you’re not travelling with someone close who knows about your condition, tell someone on the flight that you have diabetes in case there’s an emergency. Telling a flight attendant when you board about your condition is a given, but it’s definitely worth mentioning it to the person next to you in case you start to dip. They could alert a flight attendant that you need juice or candy if you become hypoglycemic.
- Store your insulin correctly
If you’re going off the beaten track rather than sipping cocktails by the beach, you need to make sure you can store your insulin correctly when there’s no access to a refrigerator or ice packs. Investing in a cool pack is a great way to keep your insulin cool.
- Keep your hands clean anywhere, anytime
If you’re out and about when travelling, you’ll need to test your blood glucose as you go, however as you already know, you’ll need to have clean hands to do so. Tackle this issue by carrying small packets of alcohol wipes or hand sanitiser wherever you go. Test your blood at least twice so that you’re sure you’re blood hasn’t been tainted by unwanted dirt on your fingers.
*This post is contributed to Spicy Scribbler Blog