Choosing the right destination for diabetes
In cold weather insulin is absorbed slowly but as you warm up it could increase the absorption rate and lead to a hypo, as heat increases the absorption of insulin, holidaying in hot climates can also lead to hypos. Travelling to a destination at high altitude can also affect the rate in which insulin is absorbed or stored in the body.
Before booking a destination, spend some time researching the surrounding public hospitals and where you can access emergency supplies. By knowing there is help nearby, should you need it, you are more likely to be able to sit back and enjoy your holiday.
Once you have decided on a destination it is a good idea to speak with a travel agent or tour operator to discuss any additional help you may need in the airport or at the resort, for example; airport assistance or a refrigerator in your room.
European Health Insurance Card
If you decide to travel within Europe, be sure to take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as this will entitle you to the same healthcare as local residents which usually means emergency treatment will be discounted or free of charge.
The EHIC is valid for five years and is free of charge for UK citizens so it is worth applying for, even if you never have to use it.
It is only designed to cover emergency medical treatment and therefore is not a replacement for travel insurance. Your travel insurance policy will cover things like repatriation and nursing aftercare whereas the EHIC wont.
Precautions to consider when travelling with diabetes
Whether you’re travelling on your own or with others, it is always a good idea to take your diabetes identity card or jewellery to keep on you just in case something was to happen and you are on your own. It is also a good idea to let the hotel staff know you are diabetic when you arrive at your destination.
When you’re on holiday try to stick to a balanced diet and keep an eye on your glucose levels if you plan on trying new food. It is also a good idea to pack extra snacks if you go out for the day.
If you need to carry an insulin pump make sure you speak with the airline before travelling to check they will allow this in flight. Due to heightened security at most airports, the airline may not be happy for you to take your pump with you as it cannot be scanned through the x-ray machine in case it gets damaged.
If you have been diagnosed with a diabetes-related condition, like peripheral neuropathy, you may need to take extra care when walking barefoot; due to the numbness you may not realise you have stood on something which could lead to infection if it goes undetected for a period of time. Make sure you check your leg/s and feet each evening, or ask someone to check for you, just to be on the safe side.
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