Travelling overseas doesn't need to be a pain when you have diabetes. The Department of Endocrinology at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) shares what you need to do before you travel if you have diabetes.
When you have diabetes, and especially when you are on insulin therapy, travelling can be challenging. However, don’t let it stop you!
You need to consider factors that impact your insulin needs such as the journey time, the entire duration of your trip, the climate and your meals.
With some preparation before your trip, people with
diabetes (also known as diabetics) can not only keep well while travelling, but enjoy to boot!
Department of Endocrinology at
Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the
SingHealth group, shares how.
Useful pre-departure planning tips
Pre-departure planning is essential to ensure that you are fit and adequately prepared for travelling. Here are some pointers from our experts.
1. Visit your consulting doctor early
Discuss your holiday plans with your doctor. Let your doctor know if you are planning any special activities and whether it is safe to do so, and clarify any questions you may have on how to optimally manage your glucose levels during these activities
Ensure your blood glucose levels are under control
Questions to ask your doctor include (but are not limited to) the following:
Which travel vaccinations you need and how long in advance
When you should take your insulin if you are flying long distance
How changing time zones and climate can affect your blood glucose level
2. Get a travel memo from your doctor stating:
3. Check time zone and weather differences, nearest hospital and insurance
Changing time zones can affect the timing for administering insulin, especially basal insulin. Remember to set an alarm so that basal insulin is administered on time. If you are uncertain about insulin timing changes, ask your doctor before you leave
Weather differences not only affects the clothing you pack, but also affect the storage of your insulin and glucometer, so ensure it is packed in insulated bags if you are expecting extreme weather
Check out the locations of hospitals nearby
Ensure that your travel or medical insurance covers diabetes-related emergencies
4. Have a systemic packing for your medication and medical supplies
Pack your medication in a compartmentalised pill box so that you can easily keep track
Pack extra medication, in case your journey is delayed due to unforeseen circumstances (especially in this current CoVid world we live in). The same goes for insulin and other diabetes supplies, such as blood glucose monitors, test strips and lancets
Hand carry medications such as insulin and medical supplies such as syringes, insulin pens, glucometer, and other consumables to manage your diabetes
5. Pack another essential item – Snacks! Healthy ones, of course!
6. Inform others that you have diabetes
If on tour, inform your guide about your condition. If you are travelling alone, tell the people around you that you have diabetes, and how they can help in case of emergency
Alternatively, you may have some form of ID like a diabetes bracelet or a small card printout with emergency contacts and what-to-do’s on your person, so that people can render help if you are unable to respond
7. Take good care of your feet
Check your feet and soles for blisters from time to time
Prevent foot pain and injuries by wearing shoes and socks that are comfortable and protect your feet
If you are going to a beach, avoid walking barefoot
Visit a doctor if you notice any foot problems
With our handy guide, we hope you are able to enjoy your next holiday to the fullest!
Here are other diabetes-related articles you may be interested in:
Packing Checklist For Travelling with Diabetes
How to Pack Insulin When Travelling
Hypoglycaemia (Low Blood Glucose): Warning Signs and Symptoms
Diabetes Foot Care Tips: 10 Steps to Healthy Feet
Diabetes Diet Myths vs Facts
Easy Diabetes Diet