Travelling With Diabetes
Traveling abroad always brings with it certain risks. If you fall ill in another country and require medical care, not only can it be confusing and distressing to get treatment in an unfamiliar system, but it can also be expensive. This is why many travelers decide to buy travel insurance when they go overseas.
However, what if you have a pre-existing medical condition like diabetes? This can make the prospect of traveling abroad even more worrying. Here are some tips for travelling with diabetes:
the first thing to remember is that just because you have diabetes, this alone should not put you off travelling. The NHS website has some good information on this, and it emphasizes the importance of careful planning by starting to prepare about six weeks before you travel;
one thing you will want to ensure you take is your diabetes ID. This may be an item of jewellery or a card, but just make sure that you keep it on you at all times in case you require medical attention while on holiday;
stock up on medical supplies before you go. Think about the amount that you would normally take for the period of time that you are traveling, and then pack at least twice as much to be on the safe side;
on the flight, it is a good idea to keep your medicines with you in your hand luggage so you can look after them and avoid the risk of your hold luggage going missing. Insulin can also become damaged in the cold temperatures in the hold, so it is a better idea to keep it with you;
you will need to carry your insulin and syringes on the flight, but for security reasons you may need to present a letter from your GP when you pass through security, so make sure you sort this out in advance;
another useful thing to take with you is a blood glucose conversion chart. This is because in some countries glucose is measured differently. Find out how it is measured in the country you are traveling to, and keep your chart on you;
your diet will be important when you are travelling overseas, just as it is at home. Try to plan your meals ahead, and it is also a good idea to take healthy food and snacks on the plane with you;
you should be aware that the weather and the change in time zones can affect your condition. Your blood glucose monitor and your insulin can be affected by particularly hot or cold weather. To prepare for this properly, check with your doctor before you go and ask for their advice;
if you decide to purchase travel insurance, whether for a long trip abroad or just weekend break insurance, you will have to state that you have diabetes. Your insurer may or may not provide cover for you condition, in which case you should search for a provider that does. Just make sure you do not lie about your condition because this could affect your cover;
if you are traveling to another country in Europe, you may want to take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This is free, and it will provide you with the same level of medical care that a resident of the country receives.
Just because you have diabetes, you should not let that put you off travelling. Just make sure you plan your trip well in advance so that you are well prepared for your holiday.
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