BENGALURU: Diabetes should not hinder your travel diaries.
Pre- planning of traveling in detail is very important for enjoyable journey and to avoid unpleasant experiences. Our traveling schedule modify our daily routine, lifestyle and behavioural character. People travelling with chronic medical conditions especially diabetes are more vulnerable to a change in lifestyle as it could adversely impact their health.
To think in advance is the key to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday. Simple measures like carrying your medical history and doing a quick check of your insurance terms will go a long way.
Here are the pre-traveling measures to keep in mind:
■ Before you head out for your holiday, visit your Diabetologist to get a complete check-up and seek advice. You must also inform your airline, hotel and travel company that you have diabetes.
■ Ensure that your Travel Insurance covers pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes. Study the insurance policy paper to verify that your policy will pay for your treatment while on holiday, in addition to the extra expenses if your stay gets extended. .
■ Do not forget to carry your letter from your Diabetologist stating that you have diabetes while getting frisked at the airport. Otherwise you may not be allowed to carry Insulin, syringes and medical equipment.
Crossing Time Zones
■ While traveling from east to west, your day will be longer therefore you may need to eat an extra meal and more insulin.
■ While traveling from west to east, your day will be shorter, therefore you may need to reduce the amount of food and insulin you take.
■ As mentioned earlier, it is recommended that you discuss your travel plans with your Diabetologist to ensure that your plans are tailor made to suit your needs and requirements.
■ While touring with a group, make sure that you inform your tour guide and your travel companions that you have diabetes.
■ Store your insulin in your hang baggage. It may freeze if it is kept in the check-in baggage. Once frozen, it must not be used. If you are visiting a country with high temperatures, carry your insulin in a cool bag.
■ Always keep you insulin in a cool bag or fridge away from direct sunlight.
■ Insulin may be preserved at room temperature for upto 28 days but it must be away from direct sunlight.
■ Visit to hot countries
■ At such a climate, you must monitor your blood glucose regularly. Since your insulin will be absorbed more quickly, the injection may have a quicker and stronger effect than at home.
In Your Carry Bag
Carry your medication in surplus.-twice the amount that you expect to be used. Carry twice the amount of insulin and tablets, along with a spare set of equipment such as insulin pens, syringes, batteries for Glucosemeter, testing strips, lancets and all that will be needed
■ If you are taking a flight, carry your insulin, tablets and equipment in your hand luggage. While traveling by bus/ car or boat, when you take your insulin injections, reduce the morning dose of insulin by 10 - 15 per cent. Keep your blood glucose level above 110 to avoid hypoglycemia.
■ Carry your insulin bag along with your Hypoglycemia treatment kit and snacks.
■ Test your blood glucose level regularly when travelling since it can vary due to multiple reasons. If required, ask the airline staff for extra carbohydrate food. A few airlines provide a separate menu for people with diabetes.
■ If you are certain that you will be involved in physical activities such as trekking, swimming, diving etc, test your blood glucose level every two hours and eat a snack if necessary.
Visit to Cold Countries
In cold countries, insulin is absorbed more slowly, and once you warm up it can start acting suddenly. People are prone to hypoglycemia as the cold environment induces shivering, putting the body at risk of hypothermia (low body temperature
■ You must be alert at all times as some glucose test strips can give you false readings of high if very hot and vice-versa.
If You Fall Ill
■ Ensure that you keep track of your blood glucose level regularly as the glucose level can rise when you are ill. Adjust your diet and treatment if needed
■ In case you have type 1 Diabetes, it is very crucial to continue to take insulin when you are sick and check your urine for ketone bodies. If ketone bodies are present resort to immediate medical help
■ If you are vomiting or suffering from diarrhea, check your blood glucose every two hours and seek medical help if the blood glucose is very high or very low. In the meantime keep sipping sugary drinks. Ensure you drink lots of water to avoid dehydration