Your travel plans should not be affected by your diabetes or vice versa. Follow our expert’s advise on things to do before you plan a trip and while you’re out travelling.
People with diabetes who travel extensively need to be a bit more cautious, as this may lead to an increase in the blood glucose levels. On the other hand activities like sightseeing, shopping and roaming about are healthy and assist in lowering the blood glucose. So, in order to make the most out of your vacation or stay fit during long hours of journey a well chalked out plan is a big help.Travelling is one of those umbrella concepts that stores within its periphery a motley of elements – of excitement, fun, entertainment and also that of challenge. The latter holds true for those with health issues and old age. People move from one place to another not just for a holiday or a vacation, but largely also for work. This type of travel may not always be desirable and so one may not be very careful while preparing for or even while undergoing it. Sitting down for long hours while on a bus, train or plane may take a definitive toll on one’s health, for lack of physical activity in that period.
1. Pack well:
You can’t afford to pack casually like you did before diabetes hit you. But even this is not a big deal. Once you are in the habit of maintaining a checklist, this will come to you as naturally as packing your toothbrush. Carry twice the amount of medicines that you’d otherwise need, so that you don’t fall short of them, if the stay is prolonged or the journey is delayed. It’s risky to skip even a single dose, so pack them in your handbag instead of the safer crevices of your luggage. Insulin need not be refrigerated, but make sure it is not kept at a place exposed to extreme temperatures. Using insulin pens for compensating your dosage is a better option and is a lot less messier while travelling.
2. See your doctor:
Before you embark upon the journey, make it a point to see your doctor and get a thorough medical examination done. This is particularly important when travelling long distance, for a longer period or when going on adventurous trips. This would give you enough time to streamline your lifestyle and hence step out with controlled diabetes.
3. Carry your prescription:
It does not matter how long you’re gone for, it’s absolutely necessary to take your prescription along on the trip. In case of an emergency like, if you lose your medical kit or if it gets spoilt, you need to have the prescription to get fresh supplies. Also, it needs to be a long list, with details of not only diabetes pills or insulin, but also items such as blood glucose testing equipment, strips, lancets and syringes. The prescription will also help you at security checks.
4. Check your diet:
Pack extra food when travelling on road, or even in flights, to ensure your diet doesn’t get affected by the time spent in travelling. Have meals at the the usual time. Avoid stopping on roadside joints and consuming foods that are filling but low on nutrition count. When flying or staying at a new place, request for a special meal with low sugar and carbohydrates. Order your food in advance so that you can take the insulin shot at the scheduled time, else you may have a drop in your blood sugar levels. Carry a bottle for water, and make sure you study the ingredients when eating unfamiliar foods.
5. Monitor regularly:
Travelling may spearhead a lot of activities in the body, the most common of which is stress. Eating new types of food is another factor. Hence, it is advisable to check your blood sugar more often than usual, in order to monitor any fluctuations that may occur. Talk to your doctor to get a clear understanding of managing this while on the move.
6. Be ready:
The most common thing you should be prepared for is hypoglycaemia, the condition of an abnormal drop in the blood sugar level. Carry something sweet, such as hard candy or glucose tablets with you. Hypoglycaemia may be tricky while travelling, and may even cause seizures or unconsciousness.
This may sound very disappointing to be expected to work out when you’re on vacation or are travelling for fun, but it doesn’t have to be so. You know that any form of physical activity is good for you. It doesn’t have to be your prescribed work out session. A brisk walk would be enough during the vacation. You may even go out walking while exploring new places.
By: Dr. Anuj Maheshwari