Carrying the necessities

The Big Diabetes Lie

Treatments for Diabetes

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Whether you travel by car, train, plane, or boat, make sure that the essentials of diabetes care are easy to access. If you're flying, all diabetes medications and equipment must be in carry-on baggage. You definitely don't want your child's insulin to end up in Chicago when you and he are in New York. In addition, checked luggage may be in an exceedingly cold part of the airplane, and freezing destroys insulin.

You have to follow the rules of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) if you fly within the United States. (Airlines operating outside the U.S. may have different rules; check with your airline before you travel overseas.) The TSA instructs that you should "make sure injectable medications are properly labeled (professionally printed label identifying the medication or a manufacturer's name or pharmaceutical label). Notify the screener if you are carrying a hazardous waste container, refuse container, or a sharps disposable container in your carry-on baggage used to transport used syringes, lancets, etc." Updated information is available at the TSA Web site, public/display?theme=1.

Although it's not essential, a letter from your doctor stating that your child has diabetes and needs to carry the following list of medication supplies and testing equipment may be helpful and especially useful should he get sick while traveling. Carry twice as much of each item as you think you'll need; supplies can get lost, or you may be delayed or decide to stay longer.

1 Insulin (long-acting and rapid-acting for syringe injection if necessary)

1 Syringes or insulin pens

1 Insulin pump supplies

If your child uses an insulin pump, take an alternative form of insulin administration (such as an insulin pen or a bottle of insulin and a syringe) in case the pump breaks.

1 Rapidly acting sugar source (glucose tablets are most convenient)

1 Glucagon emergency kit with emergency shot (see Chapter 4)

1 Medications for nausea (prochlorperazine) and diarrhea (loperamide)

i Medication for fever (acetaminophen) i Glucose meter and spare batteries i Test strips for glucose and ketones i Lancets i A container that allows you to keep insulin at the proper temperature, whether it's very cold or very hot

In addition, I recommend that you do the following:

i Carry the telephone numbers for your child's health care providers at home, and compile a list of English-speaking doctors at your destination if possible. At the least, have the name and address of the local American consulate and the local American Express office; either usually can arrange for you to see English-speaking doctors.

ë Consider taking advantage of free membership in the International

Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers; on the association's Web site,, you can sign up for membership and get the names of English-speaking doctors in most countries. You don't have to be a member to read about the latest medical alerts and problems in various countries.

i Make sure that your child is always wearing a bracelet or necklace identifying him as someone with T1DM.

i Take snacks to eat while traveling, and carry some bars or other packaged food to eat after arriving, too.

i Check your insurance policy to make sure that it covers your child at your destination. If it doesn't, get coverage that does. (I discuss the basics of insurance in Chapter 14.) Carry your insurance card, and leave photocopies of your card at your hotel.

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