Care at NUH

Travel Tips for people living with Diabetes

Travel Tips for People Living with Diabetes Mellitus

Travelling offers an excellent opportunity to explore new places and cultures. Having Type 1 diabetes should not be a barrier to these experiences. Adequate preparation can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.  

Before Travelling  

  • Inform your healthcare team about your travel plans at least one month in advance. This consultation is crucial for discussing diabetes management and necessary insulin adjustments. 
  • If your trip involves crossing time zones, it’s important to discuss with your healthcare team the timing of insulin injections and other medications. Pay particular attention to basal insulin doses. Missing doses can result in elevated blood glucose levels and potentially diabetic ketoacidosis. Conversely, administering basal insulin doses too soon might cause overlapping of insulin effects and hypoglycaemia 
  • Obtain a letter describing your medical condition, medications and essential equipment (e.g., needles, glucometers, glucose sensors) 
  • Ensure you receive all necessary vaccinations before travelling 
  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance 
  • Identify healthcare facilities or clinics near your accommodation for emergencies 

Preparing a Travel Kit  

Always carry your travel kit in your hand luggage. Do not check-in the travel kit, insulin, oral medication or consumables. Keep your travel kit accessible at all times. 

Contents of Travel Kit 

Insulin and medications supplies: 

  • Insulin pen or syringes 
  • Medications for common illnesses, such as diarrhoea and motion sickness 
  • Glucometer and extra batteries 
  • Glucometer test strips and lancets 
  • Ketone meter with test strips 
  • Quick-acting sugar for hypoglycaemia. (e.g., sweets or glucose tablets) 
  • Snacks (e.g., biscuits) for delays meal times 
  • Travel letter 
  • Prescription copy in case medications are lost 

Safety Tips  

  • Take your diabetes medications as prescribed, considering time zone differences. 
  • Store insulin in a cool place, away from direct sunlight or hot vehicles. Avoid direct contact with ice or gel packs. 
  • Check your blood glucose levels regularly and when experiencing symptoms of hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes 
  • Drink sufficient water 
  • Eat healthily 
  • Take precautions to avoid traveller’s diarrhoea 

Please seek medical attention if 

  • You misplace your insulin and/or medications 
  • You experience symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea.  
  • Your blood glucose levels are persistently below 4 mmol/L or above 14 mmol/L with elevated ketones 
  • You sustain an open wound  

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