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Travel Tips for People with Diabetes

(ARA) – Packing for a trip overseas? Getting ready for a road trip with friends? Finally going on that cruise? Plan ahead and ask important questions of your healthcare team to learn some great tips to maintain healthy diabetes management while on your getaway. Follow these tips from Patty Latham, MS, RD, of Roche Diagnostics, and enjoy a more relaxing vacation!

* Whether you’re lounging by the pool, or sightseeing for the day, remember to adjust your daily routine to accommodate your vacation schedule. Don’t skip meals and remember that increased physical activity like hiking, walking or swimming may reduce blood glucose levels. You may need to adjust your medication or eat an extra snack.

* When you are away, it is important to test your blood glucose levels frequently, especially after meals if you cannot identify total carbohydrates or if you are more active than usual.

* Keep yourself hydrated by bringing bottled water.

* Always be prepared for the unexpected such as lost luggage, cancelled or delayed flights, rerouted trips and illness. Remember to pack supplies and portable snacks such as single servings of peanut butter and crackers, fruit cups, pudding, granola bars, fresh fruit or rice cakes in a carry-on bag to treat low blood sugar.

* When traveling to a different time zone, keep in mind you will need to adjust the time you eat your meals as well as when you take your medications.

* Be familiar with your destination. Do a little research ahead of time to identify the location and hours of operation of nearby hospitals, restaurants or grocery stores and pharmacies that you can get to easily.


Travel by Plane:

“Understanding the security measures in airports, consider bringing a letter from your physician stating that you are carrying an insulin pump and/or insulin/syringes and lancets to manage your diabetes,” says Latham. Increase fluids before, during and after your flight to reduce the risk of dehydration. Most flights still sell mini-meals, but most are high in calories, fat, sodium and carbohydrates. If the snacks provided have food labels, be sure to read the food label and make your choice accordingly. When in doubt, it is always best to bring your own snacks (see above for a list of suggestions). During long flights, get up and walk around regularly, if possible.

Travel by car:

Keep a cooler in the car with snacks and drinks. Also, be familiar with the route you plan to take. In the event that you need to find a location to stop, it will be helpful if you have identified populated areas with access to food, pharmacies and potentially hospitals. If the trip is several hours or more, consider stopping regularly to stretch and walk.

Travel by Boat:

Most cruises have flexible meal times and buffet eating, however, you may want to request specific eating times and special meals (smaller portions, lower fat and sodium), if needed. “Have a plan before filling up your plate at a buffet and try to make only one trip. Fresh fruits and vegetables typically are available, and it is a great way to incorporate fiber-rich foods into your diet,” advises Latham.

Roche Diagnostics, maker of ACCU-CHEK products and services, has an easy solution for you as you travel. The ACCU-CHEK Compact blood glucose meter is a less painful system from start to finish. Its convenient preloaded 17-strip drum means you don’t have to struggle with strips and vials each time and provides more convenient testing. ACCU-CHEK products are preferred on most health care plan formularies, keeping out-of-pocket costs to a minimum. Have a safe trip!

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