Over the River and Through the Woods: Traveling with Diabetes
Travel can be a challenge, with your normal schedule out the window and with the need to carry medication. But with some planning, everything will go smoothly. The Centers for Disease Control have some recommendations for keeping it together on the trip.
The CDC recommends taking twice the amount of medication and supplies than you think you will need. There is no way to control the weather, the airlines, or other sources of delays. To control diabetes, pack appropriate supplies including snacks or glucose replacement in case of hypoglycemia from missing a meal. Packing a glucagon emergency kit and keep your health insurance card and emergency phone numbers where they can be easily found.
It is becoming easier to carry insulin without the need for a cooler. If you are able to do so, new injectable insulin pens are becoming available that can be carried in a purse or backpack without needing refrigeration. And keep all your medication in your carry-on luggage.
The CDC also recommends keeping up with all vaccinations and to get a flu shot every year. Wash your hands often and try to avoid people who are ill. The latter can be difficult in the confines of an airplane, however, so be prepared to defend yourself. Ask for a different seat if at all possible if your neighbor coughs, sneezes, or blows his nose to excess.
Keep moving, too. Walk around the plane every hour or so. Stop the car to stretch your legs. Blood clots can happen to anyone and movement is the best way to avoid them. Drink plenty of water, not soda, juice or other sugary drinks. The winter air is dry and staying hydrated helps your body keep germs at bay. Also, remember the seven tips from the American Diabetes Association to keeping your blood sugar even.
You know, so many of these tips are good for anybody who wants to watch their diet during the holidays or who has any chronic medical condition. Don’t feel alone in your special needs. There are others who are living normal lives with diabetes. You can, too!