Bon Voyage! Smart Traveling with Diabetes

Summer is just around the corner. Maybe you and your family are planning a relaxing getaway:  Outdoor BBQs, park visits, lying on the beach, road trips – they all sound wonderful, don’t they! If you have diabetes you know it’s important to take extra care when vacationing, but with mindful planning you can still enjoy your summer vacation.

Here are 8 tips for managing diabetes on vacation from Botsford Hospital’s registered dietitians.

  1. Meet with your doctor before you go. Getting an OK from your doctor is crucial for a safe trip. Let your doctor know that you are traveling and ask for advice or extra prescriptions for a long trip. Make sure you are up-to-date on immunizations.
  2. Pack extra medical supplies and store them properly. Bring double the amount of necessary diabetes supplies in case of a delay. Your medication and testing supplies should be in your carry-on luggage or with you at all times. It is also important to keep your medications dry and away from direct sunlight. Don’t leave your insulin in the car, as it may get overheated and lose its function.
  3. Take your medical ID. Make sure you keep your medical insurance card and emergency phone numbers handy, including your doctor’s name and phone number. It is wise to wear a medical alert ID in case of an emergency.
  4. Study your destination. Find out where to eat, where to seek help, and how much physical activity you will be engaging in. Locate the nearest medical facilities for an emergency. Keep time zone changes in mind so you’ll know when to take medication.
  5. Plan your meals. Map out the dining locations and try to eat at your regular meal hours. Go online or call ahead to request nutrition information if possible. Apply your carb counting knowledge to unknown foods or stick with familiar foods to avoid blood sugar spikes. Be mindful and avoid overeating.
  6. Stay hydrated. To help lower the body’s natural reaction to stress, drink plenty of fluids. Stick to water with fresh lemon and try to drink at least 64 ounces per day. Avoid sugary drinks and limit your alcohol intake. Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
  7. Take care of your skin and feet. Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposures. Sun burns and bug bites can cause unwanted skin infections. Bring comfortable shoes that protect your feet (not sandals) and clean cotton socks. To keep good circulation, avoid socks with heavy seams and elastic. Be especially careful of hot pavement by pools and hot sand on beaches. Never go barefoot.
  8. Monitor closely. Keep a closer eye on your blood sugar levels. This is important because your normal routine has changed. Dining out and changes in physical activity can lead to unexpected blood glucose levels.

Want to learn more? Come to our Saturday Spotlight workshop on June 1st. Call Botsford Diabetes & Nutrition Services at (248) 477-6100 for details.

By Wen Guo, Botsford Hospital dietetic intern and Michigan State University student.

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