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Health Association issues travel guidelines for diabetes patients

The American Association of Diabetes Educators has issued a set of travel safety guidelines aimed at patients with diabetes who are faced with the challenge of managing their glucose levels whilst travelling.

Being prepared and having a plan can empower patients, ensure safety and create a reliable framework for glucose management during summer holidays or travels abroad.

With plenty of us planning to escape to a different country this summer, the AADE guidelines come just as many are starting to figure out a plan for managing their diabetes whilst they’re abroad.

Over-pack medication

  • Over-packing is much better than under-packing. AADE recommends patients bring enough medication to last 2 weeks and to pack enough for any unexpected travel delays, misplaced supplies and request anything extra like back-up medications, emergency supplies and back-up pumps incase the original fails.

Protect supplies

  • Rather than placing supplies in checked luggage or putting them in the trunk, where temperatures can drop and insulin can crystalise, AADE instructs patients to keep them within reach, in hand luggage and in original packaging to avoid confusion or questions.

Self-identity

  • Wearing a medical bracelet or necklace, or carrying a doctor’s note or health card with an emergency contact number are simple ways of letting others know of your medical condition.

Carry snacks and hypoglycaemia treatment

  • Because low blood sugar can occur at any time, AADE recommends patients always carry plenty of snacks, as well as glucose tablets or gel.

Communicate pre-flight

  • Advise the airline about your medical condition well in advance, and do your homework about what medication you can bring onboard the plane.

Test often

  • Between different foods, activity and time zones, travel can lead to changes in glucose levels. AADE recommends patients test frequently and make a plan to adjust injecting schedule.

Care for feet

  • AADE suggests that patients wear comfortable shoes and socks at all time and check their feet and ankles for swelling. Compression stockings can counter swelling during flight and exercises can improve blood flow.

Prepare for an emergency

  • Have a plan in place, including a local state hospital to visit and local emergency contact numbers at the ready should the worst happen. Consult with your GP before you depart.
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