“What you need to know to vacation safely if you or a loved one has diabetes.”
Traveling Safely With Diabetes
July 15, 2015 - When you’re about to head out of town for vacation, the details are daunting. But when you’re a traveler with diabetes, they can be even more overwhelming. You need to consider more than reservations and stopping the mail; you have to worry about your health and how you’ll keep your blood sugar levels in control when you’re away from home.
If you have diabetes, a little rest and relaxation is a definite possibility. It just takes a little extra planning, and that’s what Angelo Capricchione, MD, a fellowship-trained endocrinologist at Bingham Memorial Hospital is here to help with. He is board certified in the treatment of osteoporosis, diabetes, and thyroid disorders.
Planning and Packing Pointers
“The most important thing you can do is plan ahead,” says Dr. Capricchione. “If you have diabetes, you don’t have the luxury not to plan.” In addition to scheduling a checkup with your healthcare provider for 4 to 6 weeks before you leave, it means answering such questions as:
What will you be doing and in what kind of terrain? “If it’s going to be extra hot, think about your fluid intake,” Dr. Capricchione says. Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up as you go. If you’ll be on a beach or doing some hiking or a lot of walking, be sure to take the right shoes and socks to protect your feet.
How long will you be gone? “You can’t leave diabetes behind,” says Dr. Capricchione. “It’s packed with you.” The National Diabetes Education Program recommends taking twice the amount of diabetes medication and supplies—including an extra glucose meter—you think you’ll need. If you’re traveling with a companion, split the supplies between your two bags in case yours is lost, damaged or stolen.
What will you do in an emergency? Dr. Capricchione recommends finding out what healthcare facilities and pharmacies are at your destination. “You also should ask your healthcare provider for a hard copy of your prescriptions and carry those with you,” he says. He advises writing down your medications and dosages and carrying that list in your wallet and your suitcase. Do the same with the settings on your insulin pump, if you use one. And always wear a bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes.
Manage Your Diabetes