Diabetes: What should I keep in mind when traveling?

Little by little, the closing time of the year begins and the travel planning season opens due to the imminent summer holidays. Undoubtedly, one of the most pleasant stages for all people and in which doctors begin to have consultations about care and prevention, taking into account, for example, the epidemiological context that we continue to go through. Specifically in the area in which I work, and with the focus on World Diabetes Day, I highlight special attention and mention to essential care for people who use insulin and for those treated with tablets. We recall that, in Argentina, according to the National Survey of Risk Factors, it is estimated that 12.7% of Argentines 18 years and older have diabetes. In this way, there are certain special care to take into account when embarking on a trip so that people with diabetes travel safely and can enjoy without taking risks, previously scheduling a consultation with their attending physician:
Everything that has to do with documentation and medicines, must be carried in the handbag and not in the suitcases, since these can be lost for hours or days, in case of air travel. If this were to happen, treatment would be interrupted and access to or purchase of supplies, insulin or oral medication would be difficult.
Transport insulin in a cooling wallet for proper storage in hand luggage. Also, the tablets must be carried in their original container to avoid delays at customs in the face of inquiries about the medicine.
The necessary amount of supplies/medication. It should be contemplated to bring supplies for up to 15 days after the date of return of the holidays, for any inconvenience that may happen.
The person must carry a note from the attending physician with the necessary indications: name of the person, type of diabetes (1 or 2), treatment / medications and reference of the medications he carries with him. In case of travel abroad, a note in the language of the country of destination should be considered. In addition, there are mobile applications with text and voice translators that allow us to easily communicate in an emergency, in a language we do not know. I recommend you to count on them.
Identification card: with the number of the attending physician and emergency contact details.
On clothing, it is essential to wear comfortable shoes to avoid injuries and wounds to the feet.
Like any person who decides to travel abroad, it is relevant to find out about the requirements of the country of destination in terms of covid-19 vaccines, for transit and / or permanence.

In addition to these tips, depending on the case, the doctor will adapt the treatment and medication taking into account the gaps in the person’s routine, for example, if there will be a change in schedules, change of usual activities, such as the increase in hours outdoors making excursions and walks. The food should also be checked by the doctor in the case of a destination where it is culturally different. On the other hand, many times doctors recommend people who use insulin, to prevent hypoglycemia, to travel with a glucagon kit in case they lose consciousness, as well as to have a sugary juice within reach for this time. For adults traveling with diabetic children, I recommend closely following blood insulin checks, because, with changes in routine, this can be forgotten. Faced with these recommendations and careful planning, traveling with diabetes is a comfortable and safe experience. Doctors are here to provide confidence and encouragement and, in the face of advances in these 100 years of the discovery of insulin, people with diabetes can enjoy their holidays and a full life like anyone else.Dr. Gabriel Lijteroff, Specialist in internal medicine, in family medicine and master in diabetology; Head of diabetology at Santamarina Hospital and director of the scientific committee on international affairs and former president of the Argentine Diabetes Federation FAD; director of the Disaster Task Force and member of the executive committee of the International Diabetes Federation SACA region. (2017-2019); and professor of postgraduate courses in diabetology at SAD, UCA, USAL, FAC.

Original source in Spanish

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