I travel often for business and pleasure and have some “rules of the road” that can help you travel safely with diabetes-and make sure all your diabetes gear ends up with you when you arrive.
First, I start out with a packing list. It has all my medications and supplies on it, and
I refer to it before every trip. I also make sure I have some food with me, at least a piece of fruit or protein bar, and whether I’m training or planeing, I carry my meter where I can get to it easily.
My new book, Diabetes Do’s & How-To’s , gives you the exact actions to do to live your healthiest life with diabetes. To-do #65 is “Travel Smart and Travel Safe.” Here’s an excerpt, and several ways to do just that.
Make sure you:
- Always take your diabetes supplies and medicines on board the airplane with you. You don’t want to discover they’re in the bag the airline lost. Also, the cargo hold may damage them due to changes in temperature.
- Carry a doctor’s note with you that says you have diabetes. If you use insulin and needles to treat your diabetes, carry a note explaining that, too.
- Pack twice the amount of medicine and supplis you’ll need and separate them in two bags. If one of your bags gets lost or stolen, you’ll still have what you need.
- Make sure you have enough medicine to last while you’ll be away and carry a prescription for your medications in case you lose them.
- If you take insulin, talk to your health care provider about how to time your injections if you are going to cross time zones. To be honest, I’ve never quite figured this out. I test my blood sugar every few hours the first two to three days I’m in a new time zone and adjust my insulin dose and frequency to stay in or near my target range.
- Don’t let your insulin get too hot or too cold. Keep it out of the sun and out of the glove compartment and trunk of your car. Frio bags, available at www.frioinsulincoolingcase.com, keep insulin at a safe, cool temperature.
- Wear a form of diabetes medical identification and/or carry a card in your wallet.
- If you wear an insulin pump, carry the manufacturer’s phone number. If something happens to your pump, many insulin pump companies will offer a loaner pump. Also have short- and long-acting insulins with you in case your pump malfunctions.
A Few Tips For Flying:
- You can bring glucose gels, juice, and fruit drinks in quantities larger than three ounces. Just let the security workers know that it’s for your diabetes.
- If you use insulin, you need to carry a pharmaceutical label for it. In my wallet I carry the side of the insulin box that shows the insulin’s name and my name.
- If carrying a glucagon emergency kit, it should be in its original container with the pharmaceutical label.
- Airport X-ray machines won’t hurt your glucose meter, insulin, or insulin pump. However, here are some tips to be extra careful with your insulin pump:
- If wearing your pump through the metal detector, hold it over your belly button. That gives you the greatest chance of not setting off the alarm.
- Request a pat down instead of going through the whole body screen machine with your pump. If you don’t want to go through the metal detector, you can also request a body pat down.
- If you’re being wanded, hold your pump away from your body and let the TSA official wand you but not your pump.
What do you do that helps you travel safely? What would you advise others to do or not do?