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How to Avoid getting Sick While Traveling

Traveling makes a person wiser. It provides wonderful learning experiences that can last a lifetime. However, this becomes a great challenge to persons with diabetes. Some of them feel so deprived of this opportunity to enjoy life’s adventures. Can we allow diabetic individuals to travel abroad?

The answer to this question is a big YES! Definitely, diabetes should not prevent you from traveling and exploring a new horizon. It only requires very intricate planning and preparation. Like any other traveller, diabetics are exposed to a number of illnesses during traveling. These include upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, headaches, allergies, sunburn, dizziness, and many more. The following are a few steps on how to prevent illness while traveling abroad.

Plan ahead – If you’re going abroad, make your itinerary way ahead of time. Know the weather of the city or the country that you are visiting and make sure that you bring the appropriate attire. Check on the need to get a vaccination and if there’s a need for vaccination, get it at least one month before your scheduled departure in order to observe for possible unwanted effects. Before traveling, always get a travel insurance. It does not only protect you but it also protects your properties particularly your luggage. Make early arrangements with the airline regarding your specified diet onboard. Get an identification bracelet indicating that you have diabetes. It is also worth mentioning whether you are an insulin user or not.

Visit your doctor – Ask permission from your healthcare provider before proceeding with your trip. Show your timeline and itinerary. Inquire regarding medications, precautions for the “highs and lows ” of your blood sugar and how to carefully manage them if they go haywire. Request for a prescription for all your-medicines that will last throughout your trip. A certification must be issued to allow you to carry your medications, glucose meter, lancets, and particularly insulin. If possible try to ask for the number of your doctor in cases of emergency.

Pack your things properly- Pack your things days before your departure. Make a checklist of the things to be brought during your travel. Arrange your medicines in a pillbox and put labels on the medicines including their indications. Include in the list of medications some cold and fever remedies, pain reliever, anti-allergy, anti-diarrhea, anti-dizziness among others. Other things to be packed include comfortable walking shoes, sunblock, insect repellant, small umbrella, cookies or candies in cases of hypoglycemia.

Control the “lows and highs” of blood sugars- If you’re not feeling well, check your sugars more frequently. If you are on insulin, make sure that you continue it even when you’re sick. Remember the guidelines given to you by your physician on insulin adjustment during illness. However, watch out for high blood sugars also. Control your “highs” using rapid and short acting insulin if you are familiar with its use and consult a physician right away.

Your food selection during travel- Contact your travel agent or your trip organizer regarding your diet ahead of time. Avoid eating in buffets where you cannot resist eating beyond your specified diet. To avoid having diarrhea, stay away from eating in food stands in the streets where sanitary requirements for food preparation are sometimes not properly met. Always bring along a bottle of mineral water wherever you go to prevent dehydration.

How to carry and store insulin during travel- Insulin must be stored properly during travel. Extremes of temperatures can lose its potency. When traveling in a hot temperature, put your insulin in insulated bag with a bag of ice. Make sure that the insulin does not get in close contact with the ice. When traveling to a cold environment, put your insulin in an insulated bag or thermos.

Avoid alcohol during travel- Alcohol intake should be limited in people with diabetes. This can predispose them to develop alcoholic fatty liver disease. During travel, diabetics are predisposed to hypoglycemia if they take excessive amounts of alcohol without eating carbohydrates while drinking. Alcohol drinking should be limited to just one to two glasses per day.

These aformentioned tips allow diabetic patients to travel safely and enjoy the pleasures of traveling. These prove that even with diabetes, you can enjoy a normal life.

By Maria Jocelyn Capuli-Isidro

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