Traveling can be stressful for the 10% of Tennesseans with diabetes.
You worry about misplacing or running out of medicine while you’re away; plus, the changes in routine and eating habits can make it hard to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
However, traveling with diabetes doesn’t have to be a hassle. Consider the following tips as you pack up and board your plane, train or automobile:
Pack Extra Medications and Supplies
While you’re eating meals away from home, you might need to use more insulin or blood glucose strips than normal. Keep a copy of your prescription and contact information for your pharmacy on hand in case your luggage gets lost or stolen or you need to have your prescription refilled while you’re out of town.
Be sure to carry or wear medical identification that identifies you as a diabetic, and keep contact information for your physician on your person at all times.
Whether you’re driving or flying, the options for diabetic-friendly foods will likely be slim during your trip. Pack nuts, dried fruit and other snacks that you can eat on the go. And be sure to keep glucose tablets or drops, hard candy or juice on hand in case your blood sugar drops too low and you need a quick boost.
Learn more about diabetes.
If you’re flying, arrive at the airport two to three hours before your flight in case you run into delays at security checkpoints. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) makes special allowances for diabetics. These include the amount of liquid you can place into carry-on luggage and the types of screenings you undergo if you have insulin pumps and continuous blood glucose monitors. Visit the American Diabetes Association website for a list of your rights and TSA-approved exceptions for those with medical disabilities.
Follow TSA Regulations
Put all your diabetic supplies in one clear, sealable bag in your carry-on luggage. Even though most liquids and gels cannot pass through security, you may take insulin, other liquid medications, juice and cake gel through TSA checkpoints, even if their containers hold more than 3.4 ounces. Oversize containers have to be removed from your luggage and declared. Do not put them into the quart-sized zip-top bag used for non-medical liquids, since they will receive additional screening. Whenever possible, bring prescription labels with you. Though they aren’t required, they might help speed up the inspection process.
Keep an Eye on Your Insulin
Don’t put insulin into your checked luggage, since it could be affected by severe pressure and temperature changes. While on the flight and afterwards, look over your insulin closely before you inject each dose. If it looks abnormal or does not seem to be working properly, call your doctor.
When traveling, you can reduce your risk of blood clots by moving around every hour or two.
Though traveling with diabetes may seem like a huge undertaking, following these tips and planning ahead can help lead to stress-free travel and a safe, healthy trip.
Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor.
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.