Traveling with someone living with Diabetes
Recently, when I attended the session on Living Fully With Diabetes, I realized that it is such a common condition. Almost everyone around me has someone or the other in their family who has it. Even my husband is diabetic. But I never talked about it on my blog thinking that nobody would relate to it. Clearly, I was wrong. Hence, I thought why not share some tips on how we take care of things for my husband when we travel. So, in this post, I will be sharing the things you should know when you are traveling with someone living with diabetes.
In my last post, I shared how one can manage diabetes easily by taking care of a few things like their diet, physical activity, medicines and glucose monitoring. But all this takes a turn when one has to travel since it’s not easy to follow the same routine.
So, should we not travel and just stay at home?
Once my friend told me that he doesn’t travel with his family because his parents who are both diabetic can’t come with him. He told me that their routine goes for a toss and even a 3-day travel takes a toll on their health.
I understand that following the same routine is extremely difficult, but I feel that one can still manage their glucose levels with proper planning. Here’s what we do when we travel-
1- Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Rule 1 of managing diabetes is monitoring your glucose levels on regular basis. Keeping a tab on your blood sugar levels help in taking important decisions regarding your diet and physical activity. But, of course, traveling means carrying your blood glucose monitoring device with you everywhere.
My husband makes excuses to not to pack his glucometer so that he can avoid testing while traveling. He wants to remain free from the hassle of finger pricking and testing while on a vacation. Even if he carries it with him, he usually forgets to do the test.
Being a caregiver to my husband, I have to stay on alert during such vacations. I keep a watch on his diet and I make sure that he gets enough physical activity. I also keep a pouch with his extra medicines with me. And, I know if this is such a big matter of worry for us, it is for you too if you are traveling with someone living with diabetes.
TIP 1- Use CGM instead of BGM. Why prick when you can scan?
I have found a solution to my husband’s problem. We simply needed to shift from blood glucose monitoring (BGM) to continuous glucose monitoring (CGM).
BGM is the most common way of checking blood sugar levels and for that one has to use blood glucose meters. You use a lancet to prick your finger and apply that drop of blood on the glucose testing strip attached to the glucometer to get your current glucose reading.
Whereas, CGM is a painless way to monitor glucose levels. A CGM device comes with a sensor and a reader. In my last post, I shared about one such CGM device by Abbott called FreeStyle Libre. You simply have to apply the sensor on your upper arm, swipe the reader on the sensor to scan and see your glucose reading on the reader.
People living with diabetes for years find BGM frustrating and time consuming. So, why not shift to the painless way of monitoring. FreeStyle Libre has so many benefits like –
- It can be worn for up to 14 days.
- It’s convenient as it automatically measures & stores your glucose readings.
- It gives you 8 hours of glucose data and glucose trends.
- It’s water resistant so can be worn while you bathe or swim.
- Even a child with diabetes can use it.
So, why prick when you can scan?
2- Proper Diet
Rule 2 of managing diabetes is taking a healthy diet. But, when you are traveling with someone living with diabetes you notice that it’s not easy for them to focus on healthy eating. They can not follow the same meal plan that they follow at home. However, as a caregiver you can definitely keep a watch on what they eat.
TIP 2- Book a diabetic meal on flight!
If you are taking a flight, book your tickets with the airlines that give an option for a diabetic meal. Alternatively, you can also keep a few snacks in your hand baggage in case the meal gets delayed. If traveling by road, it’s always better to carry home cooked meal and healthy snacks for munching.
TIP 3- Request for diabetic-friendly food at the hotel!
While booking a hotel, call them and check if they provide diabetic-friendly food or if they can prepare meals on request. Most of the hotels we have stayed with were happy to cater to our request. However, they may charge extra for the special meals.
In case, we have to stay for more than 3 days, we book a cottage, they come with a fully equipped kitchen, and you get an easy option to prepare meals as you like. So, you see with a little pre-planning, diet for a diabetic can be managed easily.
We all know the importance of physical activity to stay healthy. But regular exercise may become a matter of worry when on a vacation. You may have to give up your morning walks as you may want to sleep in till late and evening walks may not happen due to other plans.
TIP 4- Trek, Swim, Cycle and Play!
But planning your days beforehand may give you a chance to include time for physical activity. We never fail to plan a hike or trek while on a holiday. We also visit places that we can explore on foot. Most of the time, we book resorts with swimming pool so that my husband gets his exercise while enjoying at the pool. Also, we always keep some time for play. Badminton, table tennis and cycling are our favorite sports.
4- Medication when traveling with someone living with diabetes
Carry twice the medicines you need in case your stay gets extended. Also, it’s better to keep medicines in two different pouches in case one gets misplaced or you forget it somewhere. My husband keeps one in his backpack and I keep the other one with me. While booking the hotel, always check for the nearest pharmacy and its timings.
TIP 5 – Never ever skip your medicine!
Even if your sugar level is within limit, don’t skip your medicine especially when you are away from home. If you tend to forget to take medicines, then set multiple reminders on your phone or watch. It really helps!
I hope these simple tips will help you in planning your trip if you are traveling with someone living with diabetes.
Know More about Continuous Glucose Monitoring.
Disclaimer – This is a sponsored post.