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If you are planning a solo trip and have no major health issues, you can just look for the right mode of transport, make reservations and set out! Yes, a lot of planning goes into travel, but the to-do list can get longer if you are travelling with someone with a chronic disease like diabetes. Preparing for a family holiday and thinking of diabetes management for your loved one can be challenging. But that doesn’t mean that a diagnosis of diabetes should come in the way of your family member’s wish to explore the world. Before travelling, you just have to ensure that their condition is under control and you have packed everything that a diabetic would need while travelling. Come, let’s find out some tips for people travelling with diabetes.
For tips on travelling with diabetes, HealthShots connected with Dr B.M. Makkar, Senior Diabetologist, President, Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India, Delhi.
Going on a trip can help to unwind, but it can also affect a person’s health if he or she is a diabetic. Dr Makkar says that travel exposes diabetics to unfamiliar environments, which is why you should be well prepared.
After you are done with booking tickets, cabs and hotel rooms, you should schedule an appointment with your family member’s doctor. This should be done at least a month in advance of the trip for an updated assessment of glycemic control. You should also procure a prescription describing your loved one’s medical condition, and medication.
Availability of medications may be an issue in the place where you are going. So, it is important to carry a list of all medications with generic name and their dosages. Taking extra amount of medicines will be a great idea.
You should have an idea of how the climate and environmental conditions of the destination will be like. Extremes of weather can adversely affect the health of your family member with diabetes. People with diabetes are quite susceptible to environmental stressors such as increase incidence of heat exhaustion, cold exposure, or foot ulcers, says the expert.
Food options for diabetics may be limited during travel, so packing healthy snacks in carry-on luggage can take care of disrupted dietary patterns.
• Fresh fruits and vegetables
• Tuna salad
• Black bean salad
• Low-fat cheese and whole grain crackers
• Boiled eggs (health benefits of boiled eggs)
If you are going abroad, you should know that insulin concentration varies from country to country. So, use the correct syringes as per the demands of the country.
If your loved one is on insulin pump therapy, get in touch with the manufacturing company (how to use insulin pump for children). Dr Makkar advises to disconnect the pump during takeoff or landing as change in cabin pressure may lead to excess insulin delivery.
Medical documents are very important if you are travelling with someone with diabetes. Travel health insurance is one of them. You should have the physician’s prescription, health insurance policy, medications and prescriptions for them.
Airport security requiring patients on pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to go through scanners should be warned from doing so. It may cause radiation-induced malfunction, and these devices should not be removed.
Those with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in deep veins in the body, generally legs), so they should be encouraged to stand and walk during long flights.
Blood sugar must be measured more frequently, and make sure they wear comfortable footwear to avoid ulcers and infections. With these tips, travelling with a diabetic can be easy.
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