For the traveling diabetic, overnight stays and short trips should not cause any real anxieties, other than if you are newly diagnosed or the diabetic is a young child. For adults, short trips are easy enough. You will need to take all your normal stuff with you, and might need to remember to take your long-acting insulin with you as well.
Check your supplies before you go – do you have enough blood test sensors to last you? Enough insulin and a hypo treatment (just in case). Longer trips and overseas travel need a bit more fore-thought and planning. Two weeks’ before you go, put a date in your diary to check all your supplies and to get any extra you may need from your GP.
With security now such an issue, it’s good to keep all your diabetes kit and medication in one place that you can easily access and show to anyone who may need to see it at customs. As diabetes is now quite common, you should not have real issues with this in the UK, US and many Western countries.
Keep your insulin in your hand luggage. It must not go in the hold of an airplane as it may freeze which would make it inactive. If it goes in the hold it could freeze and it will be deactivated. It’s also good practice to keep your medications with you so they are not lost. The last thing you need is medical equipment going missing with lost luggage. Keep it with you, keep it safe, don’t let it get too hot or cold and you’ll be fine.
Keeping insulin cool
The main information on how you need to look after your insulin supplies will come from the makers of the insulin itself. Each bottle or box of cartridges has an information sheet in it. You can also check with your diabetes nurse and GP, but in the main if you use some common sense and keep your insulin away from extremes of temperature, you should be OK. When it’s not in use (unopened and not in an insulin pen), it should be kept in a fridge. If it’s in use – an open bottle of insulin or a cartridge already loaded into a pen, the insulin should be fine at room temperature for a few weeks.
If you think it necessary, there are specialist bags and carry cases that keep insulin cool and there are even mini-fridges that you can plug into the car to keep insulin cool if you are traveling in very hot countries.