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Plan your vacation

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

With a little care, you can enjoy travelling even if you have diabetes, says Dr Roshani Gadge

Wherever you go, diabetes travels with you. With a little planning, you can handle your diabetes and enjoy your travel.

It is always better to research the place you are planning to travel to, in terms of the climate, food and facilities that the hotel/ travel agent offer. It is necessary to take health advice from your doctor, preferably at least four to six weeks ahead of your travel dates. When travelling abroad, crossing time zones is tricky for people with diabetes because it requires adjustments to your insulin dosage. If you mention your trip to your doctor at least a month before you leave, he or she can help you plan for the changes you will need to make to your insulin regimen.

Diabetic patients are always advised to carry their medicines or insulin in adequate amounts with their prescription. Always take your doctor’s letter informing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) about your diabetes and your need to carry insulin, syringes, test strips, and other supplies. Also, do not forget to carry your id proof card. Every diabetic patient has to keep this card in the pocket or purse, stating that they are diabetic and providing an emergency contact number.

When you travel with insulin, give some thought to where you will store your supplies. Don’t store your insulin in the glove compartment of your car. Even backpacks and cycle bags can get quite hot in direct sunlight. It is always better to carry insulin in a cool pouch. Always keep it away from direct sunlight.

 Ensure that you carry your medical kit. The kit should include basic medicines to treat common ailments such as cold and cough. It should have bandages, gauze, antiseptic wound cleanser and adhesive tapes in case of any wounds. It is always better to keep a duplicate copy of your prescription and carry extra medications for pre-existing medical conditions in a first aid box. It is advisable for diabetic patients to carry an extra insulin pen or vials in case of damage.

l If you’re travelling to colder locales, keep your diabetes devices and insulin out of the cold. Just like extreme heat, extreme cold can affect your insulin. While walking on the beach you need to keep your feet healthy. Diabetic patients lose their ability to feel pain on the soles of their feet (neuropathy). This can be dangerous when walking barefoot. It is advisable to wear beach shoes while walking, and regularly check the skin of your feet throughout the day to prevent any wounds or blisters.

Carry some food with you, such as a sandwich, paratha, and biscuit, in case meals aren’t available from elsewhere. You never know when you will be delayed, or when you will be stuck someplace for an extra hour or two.

Dr Roshani Gadge is Diabetologist consultant, Gadge Diabetes Centre

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