When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t properly use or create enough of the hormone insulin. As a result, you can quickly develop high glucose, or blood sugar, levels, leading to a broad range of issues, from nerve damage to heart disease. And in certain ways, summertime heat and travel may make managing diabetes challenging.
While diabetes is a serious disease, it doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying your summer vacation. By keeping certain factors in mind and staying on top of your diabetes-related medical needs, you can enjoy your trip and stay well.
The experienced physicians at Healthstone Primary Care in Weston, Pembroke Pines, and Davie, Florida, provide diagnostics, treatment, and guidance around diabetes to help you lead a full and healthy life.
If you have a summer trip on your calendar, consider these diabetes travel tips:
Pack essential supplies
When you have diabetes, you never want to be without your needed medication. If your vacation involves airline travel, pack your medication in your carry-on just in case your luggage gets lost or delayed along the way. You may also want to pack your blood sugar monitor and diabetes-friendly snacks in your carry-on.
Ensure your pill and injection containers are properly labeled for ease while going through security. If you wear an insulin pump or glucose monitor, you can request a hand inspection rather than go through the X-ray machine. That machine brings a possibility of damage to your equipment.
Stay mindful of heat
Summer heat can make blood sugar more difficult to control, so take added precautions. You may need to check your levels more frequently, for example, or seek out shade and air conditioning more readily than your non-diabetic travel mates.
And when you’re headed to a warm beach or another outdoor area, keep your insulin, other medications, and blood sugar monitoring equipment out of direct sunlight. Instead, store them in a cooler to avoid overheating. In general, insulin can be unrefrigerated at a temperature between 59 and 86℉ for up to 28 days.
Stick to your diabetes-friendly diet
Many common vacation foods, like potato chips, sugary lemonade, and candy, are high-glycemic, meaning they can dramatically impact your blood sugar levels. While the occasional treat should be fine, avoid large amounts of such foods. Keep treat portions modest and enjoy them as part of a balanced meal or snack to avoid disruption.
Consider bringing balanced snacks and meal items on your outings to ensure that you have at least some healthy options. Examples include:
- Plain yogurt, topped with fresh fruit and unsalted nuts
- Celery and carrot sticks with hummus
- Lean chicken wrapped in a whole-grain tortilla
When dining out, choose restaurants with nutritious menu items or ask for adjustments, such as a side salad instead of fries and heavy sauces “on the side.”
Take care of your feet
Diabetes can affect the nerves in your feet, leading to issues such as numbness and tingling or wounds that can become infected. While managing your blood sugar and overall health help hugely, you should still take measures to protect your feet – especially if you plan to stay active during your summer travels.
Wear well-fitting, quality walking or athletic shoes. And avoid going barefoot, even on the beach, to prevent problematic injuries.
Have an emergency plan in place
While hopefully, you won’t need it, having an emergency plan in place can help ensure that if a worst-case scenario happens, you’re taken care of. For example, our team can arrange for you to get a diabetes medical ID bracelet. You should also keep your medical information on your person, such as your insurance card.
Let your travel partners know the basics of your health needs, too, keeping in mind that your providers at Healthstone Primary are just a phone call away.
To learn more about diabetes management during summer travel, contact our office or request an appointment through our website today.