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Diabetes: Travel Tips - Topic Overview

Travel can make it hard to keep your blood sugar within your target range because of changes in time zones, meal schedules, and types of foods available.

Whenever you need to see a doctor away from home, let him or her know you have diabetes. And always wear medical identification. In an emergency, medical identification lets people know that you have diabetes so they can care for you appropriately if you are unable to speak.

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General travel tips

When you are traveling:

  • Take extra diabetes medicine, insulin and injection supplies, high and low blood sugar treatments (including a glucagon kit, if you have one), blood sugar meter batteries, test strips, and lancets. You may not find your regular supplies wherever you travel.
  • Double your normal amount of needed supplies for short trips. For long trips, have enough extra supplies to last for 2 weeks more than the length of your trip.
  • To keep your blood sugar at your usual level, try to eat and take your medicine as close to your regular schedule as you can.

Car travel

When you are traveling by car:

  • Have snacks and drinks with you. Keep sugar-free drinks and drinks with sugar in an ice cooler.
  • If needed, store your insulin in the cooler so that it will stay at a more constant temperature. Don't let the insulin touch the ice.
  • Keep your blood sugar meter at room temperature. Don't leave it in a hot or cold car or in the sun.
  • Walk a few minutes every 2 hours to improve the blood flow in your legs.
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    Your level is currently

    If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

    People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

    Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

    However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

    Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

    Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

    One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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