Managing Diabetes Supplies

Take adequate supplies for your diabetes management when you travel. In fact, take twice the amount of diabetes medication and supplies that you will normally need.

If you are on an insulin pump (see Chapter 6), take some basal insulin such as insulin glargine and syringes in case you have a pump failure. Keep the insulin cool by packing it in an insulated bag with refrigerated gel packs, or use Frio packs (see friouk.com/index.php).

Also take glucose tablets, gels, and snacks for treatment of hypoglycemia and a glucagon kit and ketone testing strips. Ideally, take two glucose meters and pack them in separate bags. Keep most of your supplies in your carry-on luggage, but keep some supplies in your checked luggage, just in case you lose your carry-on luggage.

Some health insurance companies will only fill your prescriptions with one month's supply of medicines at a time, but if you call ahead, they will usually authorize an additional supply with a "vacation override."

You should also carry a travel letter from your doctor explaining that you have type 1 or 2 diabetes and the medications you are using to treat it. This note should also include the medicines you are taking for other conditions as well as any food and drug allergies you have. Also obtain a spare prescription for all your medications in case you lose your supplies or your stay is prolonged. Wear your MedicAlert bracelet at all times, and carry a card or letter explaining that you have diabetes written in the languages of the places you are visiting. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers: your doctor's office, your pharmacy, your insulin pump company, and (if you're traveling abroad) the American embassy or consulate and a list of English-speaking doctors in the country you are visiting. The International Diabetes Federation website (see Resources) has contact information for diabetes organizations in many countries.

If you are traveling by airplane and are concerned about new (and ever-changing) regulations concerning fluids in your carry-on bag, call the airline well in advance of your flight.

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