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MyDoc Tuesday Tips: Bon voyage travel checklist to better manage your blood sugar

Regardless of whether you're going on a short excursion or taking off on global experience, travelling abroad with type 2 diabetes needs a detailed customised travel plan for a bon voyage. Here's a quick checklist for you to manage your diabetes so you can enjoy your trip fully.

1. Visit your doctor 
Consult your doctor 3-4 weeks prior to travel with a detailed itinerary. Plan a pre-travel, during travel and 24-hour pos-travel medication regimen. Collect at least 2 copies of your prescription for medications available in your destination country in their preferred language.

2. Pack your supplies
Double up on your medical supplies and sugar snacks in case you feel hypoglycaemic during travel. Pack half your medicines in your carry-on luggage and a half in your check-in baggage. If using insulin, pack it safely along with an ice-pack in an insulated bag.

3. ID card 
Make an ID card or buy an ID tag that you can wear, with clear information. Include your name, age, medical conditions, medications, allergies, emergency contact number.

4. Plan your meals 
Plan a checklist of snacks you can carry with you during travels and a list of meals to choose from that are easily available at the travel location. Make a list of the nearest grocery stores, restaurants and cafes. Pre-book a diabetic-friendly meal if available on your flight. Ensure you hydrate well through the trip as dehydration is one of the leading cause of hypoglycaemia.

During Travel 
1. 4 things that must be accessible  
Prescription letter from your doctor for security checks along with your medicines. Read up on the travel guidelines for medications for your visiting country. Keep your snacks accessible both for the light and be prepared for delays as well. At all times, your ID card must be easily accessible.

2. Train your buddy 
Let your friend or colleague or family member know your symptoms of low and high blood sugar so that they can help you when needed or reach out for help at the right time.

3. Check your blood sugar 
According to a study published in the Journal of Travel Medicine, 10% of travellers with type 2 diabetes experienced hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). Travelling leads to changes in mealtimes, activities and sleep schedules, which in turn causes changes in blood sugar levels. Eating a snack when needed and hydrating yourself with water is imperative to maintain your blood sugar.

1. Foot care 
Check your feet more often for swelling, numbness and dry skin caused due to air travel. Moisturise your skin and keep your feet elevated if swollen around the ankles. Choose cotton socks and comfortable footwear that you have already broken into.

2. Check your blood sugar 
A study published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and metabolism states that almost all individuals who travel across multiple time zones at a time tend to experience physiological symptoms such as lack of sleep leading to headaches, drowsiness during the day, tiredness, stress, inability to eat right at mealtimes or indigestion, nocturia and jetlag, all of which may leads to unexpected changes in your blood sugar. Thus, checking your blood sugar more often, especially before and after each meal, will alert you of both hypo- and hyperglycemia.

Planning ahead of time ensures you are equipped with all your supplies to help you manage your diabetes on a holiday or a work trip. For a personalised travel checklist, please reach out to our team of doctors and health coach at MyDoc to help you manage your diabetes so you can enjoy your trip fully.

MyDoc healthcare team,
Claudia, dietician

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