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Traveling with diabetes

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By The Staff

As the weather warms our minds naturally turn to thoughts of travel; whether it is to going to the beach or out of state to see family it is important for people with Diabetes to plan carefully when preparing for travel. With careful planning and a few special precautions you can ensure a trouble-free and enjoyable trip. When preparing for your trip it is recommended that you get a check-up. Also have documentation of what your current medical condition is along with a list of medications in case you should require emergency care. Always wear “Medic Alert” identification; if you do not have this go to their website, www.medicalert.com. Your travel companion should be prepared to recognize and treat diabetic emergencies such as hypoglycemia and recognize early signs of Diabetic Ketoacidosis.  It is important to bring all of your diabetes supplies you will need on your trip. It is helpful to make up a list a head of time to make sure you do not forget anything. Your supplies should be in carry-on bag if you fly; this will ensure that if you and your baggage become separated you will still have your supplies and medications. It is recommended to call your airline carrier several days before your scheduled flight to confirm their policy regarding medications and supplies. Anticipation is key because you never know what mishaps can occur and a person with Diabetes must be prepared for anything. It is recommended to have at least one day’s supply of food with you in case of delayed or canceled flights, delayed meals or closed restaurants. Some examples include packaged cheese and crackers or containers of juice or fruit. You should also have some fast-acting sugar sources such as glucose tablets or glucose gel in case you experience a low blood sugar. When you call your airline carrier inquire about meals for people with Diabetes; if called several days in advance they can usually accommodate your request. For your medications and supplies it is recommended that you pack the amount you will need for your trip plus one week’s worth. If there is any problem getting home you will still have what you need to manage your Diabetes. When packing, in addition to your prescribed medication, insulin and supplies you should have a Glucagon emergency kit (It is important to keep the kit intact in the original preprinted pharmaceutically labeled container). Anticipate any other medications you may need such as medication for diarrhea or motion sickness. Keep all of your medications in their original containers in case there is any question of authenticity when going through security. For supplies you will need your blood glucose meter as well as lancets, strips and alcohol pads. Boarding a plane with lancets is acceptable as long as lancets are capped and brought on with the glucose meter that has the manufacturer’s name embossed on the meter (remember to call your airline carrier regarding their policy). Don’t forget extra batteries for your meter or insulin pump, glucose monitoring diary, ketone testing strips, insulin pump and supplies and first-aid kit. Planning and preparing for travel can be time consuming but when you take the time to plan and pack adequately you reduce the likelihood of problems and you will have the peace of mind that you have not forgotten anything.   Lisa Arvin is a registered dietitian with the Oldham County Health Department. Lisa is available for nutrition counseling as well as community health education. You can reach Lisa at 222-3516. The views expressed in this column are those of the writer.