Americans like to travel during the summer months, and after the past couple of years, the urge to get up and go is greater than ever.
But if you’re one of the 37 million Americans with diabetes, getting up and going isn’t that simple. You need to take a few extra precautions to make sure you’re prepared before you hit the road.
At Sugarland Primary Care Physicians, Chinwe Okafor, MD, helps her patients in Sugar Land, Texas, learn how to manage their diabetes whether they’re at home, at work, at school, or on a beautiful summer getaway.
If you’re planning a summer trip, these nine tips can help keep you safe and healthy.
Pack all your diabetic supplies in your carry-on or, if you’re going by car or train, a small bag you can keep in your seat. Keep your medications in their original bottles, and make sure you have enough to last through your vacation — better still, pack extra, just in case.
Hot weather and elevated blood sugar can work together to dehydrate you quickly. Always carry a water bottle and sip from it frequently.
Pack your insulin in a cooler and keep it out of the direct sun and heat. If you use an insulin pump, pop that in the cooler, as well.
Protecting your feet is a top priority if you have diabetes. Bring along comfy shoes to avoid blisters from hot sand or decks. Avoid flip-flops and slides and opt for more secure options to prevent falls. Wash your feet every day and check for blisters or sores that need medication.
Ask the TSA rep to use the wand to scan your medical supplies. Placing them in the larger scanner could damage them. Bring along a letter from your doctor detailing the types of medical supplies and equipment you’re allowed to carry to avoid problems.
Hot weather can alter the way your body processes insulin. The same is true if you’re being extra active. Check your glucose frequently — especially before exercise, like swimming or hiking — and carry healthy snacks with you on your daily travels.
Use your phone alarm to remind you when it’s time to check your blood sugar or take your medicine. Have wet wipes or sanitizer handy to clean your hands first if you’re outdoors.
Eating like the locals is one of the joys of traveling. It’s OK to indulge. Just focus on healthy food choices and avoid empty calories and fatty options. Use the Diabetes Plate Method as a guide to keep you on track.
If you don’t have a medical ID bracelet, now is the perfect time to get one. A medical ID bracelet alerts others during a medical emergency that you have diabetes, and it can list other medical conditions too.
Vacations should be a time to kick back, relieve stress, and make memories. With just a little planning before you leave home, you can relax and have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re prepared for your adventures.
To learn more about managing your diabetes — at home or on the road — call 832-862-9343 or book an appointment online with Dr. Okafor today.