Road trips are a summertime favorite among families and young people alike. But road tripping with diabetes can be challenging, especially in the summer heat!
If you are going on your first road trip after being diagnosed with diabetes or taking a diabetic friend or family member along on your summer vacation you will want to plan appropriately to make sure everyone has fun and stays safe along the way. Here are some great tips to manage diabetes during summertime get-aways.
Before You Leave...
- Plan Your Route
Plan out your route ahead of time so that you know how far you will be traveling each day, where rest stops are located, and where you can stop and eat. Leaving these essential elements to chance can be increase the risk of having a diabetic incident.
- Get an Up-to-Date Map
A physical map, GPS system, or a map application on your cell phone will help you find rest stops, convenience stores, drug stores, and hospitals along the way should you need them.
What to Pack
- Plenty of Diabetes Supplies
Absolutely be sure to pack your insulin, syringes, glucose monitor, and any other diabetes supplies and medicines that you need. Many diabetics report using about twice as many supplies as usual when on vacation due to changes in diet, exercise, and sleep patterns; so to be on the safe side, you should pack about three times as many supplies as you think you will need.
- A Small Cooler
Insulin and glucose meters are sensitive and do not hold up well in the heat. Leaving these supplies in the car for as little as 10 minutes in the summer can affect them - insulin can lose its effectiveness and glucose meters can be damaged. Always be sure to bring diabetes supplies with you when leaving the car, or for greater convenience, pack them in a cooler.
- Snacks and Water
Pack snacks and plenty of water to hold you over between stops - this will help you regulate your blood sugar and stay hydrated on stretches where there may not be travel conveniences available.
- A Container for Syringes
It is important to have a container on hand for syringe disposal. Either plan to bring something with you or use something you pick up along the way. Some vacationing diabetics just use items of convenience like a plastic bottle, but small individual sharps containers are discrete and easy to carry when traveling.
- Wear Appropriate Clothing
Any time you are driving long distances it is important to wear the right clothing, but for a diabetic on vacation it is especially important to wear appropriate clothing. Diabetics should wear breathable, loose fitting clothing and comfortable, supportive diabetic footwear.
- Check Your Blood Sugar
Make sure to check your blood sugar before you leave and then regularly throughout the trip. Knowing how your blood sugar is doing will allow you to assess your situation and deal with any minor issues before they become major issues.
- Stop and Go for a Walk
Whether or not you have diabetes it is a good idea to stop every 2-4 hours to get out and stretch. If you have diabetes use these breaks to take a brief walk to help you keep your exercise level up.
- Keep a Normal Routine
Maintaining a normal sleep schedule can be especially difficult on a road trip because you are sleeping in a new place each night, but sticking to a regular routine can help keep your diabetes in check.
- Hand Over the Keys
Once you are on the road it is easy to want to keep going, but if you notice that you are not feeling well, for whatever reason, make sure to let someone else drive or pull over.
Following these tips can ensure that vacationing with diabetes will be fun and memorable!
Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, or be taken as medical advice. For more information related to your unique situation, please speak with your personal physician.
About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is one of North America's premiere medical brace distributors. Based in Houston Texas, MMAR specializes in orthopedic braces, splints and supports, as well as diabetic footwear and cold therapy products.