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Saturday, Oct 1, 2022
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Infographic – Traveling with Diabetes

This applies above all to the well-deserved vacation. But sometimes there is no time for anticipation due to all the preparations, errands and stowing away all the important utensils. Diabetics in particular should be familiar with this area. When a diabetic goes on vacation, it is particularly important that his long-distance trip is well planned in advance and that he is well equipped for emergencies when he is abroad.

Before you travel to an unknown country far from home, as a diabetic you should think about a few things:

  • What will my holiday routine look like?
  • Will I be doing more/less physical activity than usual?
  • In an emergency, can I understand the language of the country?
  • Do I have to adjust to a new time zone?
  • What are the eating habits in the travel destination? Am I going to eat differently?

Since many aspects can have a significant impact on the blood sugar level, flexible adjustment of the insulin dose during vacation days is almost unavoidable. In addition to safe transport of diabetic needs, you should also find out whether the necessary insulins are also available in the holiday destination.

Besides passport, tickets and cash…

…  insulins  ,  syringes  and  blood sugar test strips  should definitely have a safe place in hand luggage. If you are traveling by plane, the insulin does not have to be in the bag prescribed for liquids, but it is advisable to store it in a handy cool bag  . In the cargo hold, it can often get too cold for the insulin and the test strips; if the insulin freezes, it can become unusable. 

Measuring devices  and  lancing devices should also not be left at home: if blood sugar levels are high, a diabetic can control their blood sugar level by checking their blood sugar levels frequently and, if necessary, correct high blood sugar levels and raise blood sugar levels that are too low with the help of glucose or a juice. Especially during a longer trip, it is recommended to measure your blood sugar levels every 3 hours, which is why the measuring device should always be carried in your hand luggage. 

Numerous activities are certainly planned for the holiday: On the first day there is a hike, the next day you explore the old town and the day after that you maybe just want to lie relaxed on the beach. This is precisely why you should make sure that you adapt your insulin or tablet dose to your exercise and daily routine. If you write down your needs in a  diabetes diary  , you know when to increase or decrease your dose. A possible adjustment of the insulin dose is particularly important when traveling to different time zones: If the days lengthen, the need for insulin increases, and conversely it decreases as soon as the days get shorter during the journey. 

Of course, enough  glucose  ,  fruit  and other   snacks should also find a place in a diabetic’s hand luggage. In the case of low blood sugar, a piece of fruit, a cola or a juice can quickly ensure that the blood sugar level rises again.

The  diabetic ID card  and a  medical certificate  from the doctor treating you should also be at hand during the trip. Anyone traveling by plane needs a certificate due to the security checks at the airport, which certifies the insulin treatment and the insulin set and medically justifies the carrying of insulin syringes, lancing lancets, pens, medicines, etc.

I’ll pack my suitcase and take with me…

… sufficient supplies : Diabetics should always have twice as much insulin, test strips and medication with them as they need when travelling. Spare measuring devices, disposable syringes and  package inserts for the medication  should also be stowed away well in the suitcase. This is also important with regard to the time difference: when the days lengthen, the need for insulin increases, and conversely, it decreases as the days get shorter. 

On site, diabetics should make sure to store the insulin in a refrigerator and protect it from heat. Anyone who inquires before leaving where and under what name the insulin is available in the travel country can also obtain the preparation abroad in an emergency. Since it can sometimes take a lot of time there to get the necessary test strips or U40 syringes ,  you should stock up on them in advance. Insulin  pumps ,  spare batteries  and  catheters  should not be missing on board either. 

If your own insulin becomes unusable, you have to go to a hospital in an emergency, which will provide you with substitute preparations. This is where your  health insurance card  comes in handy.

International health insurance covers the costs incurred for medical treatment abroad or for return transport. This saves you from high costs even in non-EU countries.

However, chronic diseases such as diabetes are excluded from travel health insurance.  No costs related to the illness will be covered. 

Last but not least, your own  therapy plan  should also have a place in your suitcase. In this plan, diabetics can document their sugar levels and their medicines with the names of active ingredients and dosages, should this be important for the doctor in the event of an accident.

Once all the important information has been collected and the necessary utensils stowed in the suitcase, nothing stands in the way of a great holiday.

We wish you a good and safe journey!

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