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Vacation Tips for Diabetes Patients

Everyone loves going on vacation – and to have the best possible time, diabetes patients need to do some extra preparation before they leave. Here, from the American Diabetes Association ( are some suggestions for a safe holiday:

Before you leave, the ADA says, ask your doctor for two documents: a letter and a prescription. The letter will say what you need to do to manage your condition, and you can use the prescription if you run out of medicine, including insulin. Keep these documents with you, the ADA says, in case of emergency or if you are questioned at security.

If you’re going out of the country, learn to say “I have diabetes” and “sugar orange juice, please” in the language of the country you’re going to, the ADA recommends. You can get a list of English-speaking doctors in other countries from the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT); or 716-754-4883. Ask your doctor, the ADA says, to help you figure out the timing of injections and meals  if you cross time zones. They suggest keeping your watch on your home time zone.

Another precaution: Have a pre-vacation exam, the ADA says, to see how you are managing your diabetes. Your condition should be under control before you leave.

Additionally, the ADA emphasizes, be sure to always wear a diabetes ID necklace or bracelet. Pack even more than you need, including testing supplies, medicine and insulin. Do not, the ADA advises, store insulin in very cold or very hot places such as in a car trunk or any bag that will be in the sun. Instead, use packs that are made to keep insulin at the right temperature.

Carry snacks with you, the ADA suggests; make sure they work with your meal plan. Take juice, glucose tablets or a piece of hard candy.

Make sure you keep your regular management plan while you’re on vacation: follow your meal plan, be active as much as you can, take your medicine and regularly Stick to your usual diabetes management plan when you travel: follow your meal plan, be active most days, take medicine as prescribed, and check your blood glucose level regularly.

For a complete guide from the ADA about living with diabetes if you are over 55, click here.

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