Diabetes; Lifestyle Tips
When traveling by car:
Schedule a pre-travel checkup with your health care professional about four to six weeks before your trip, for any kind of travel. Check your glucose just before leaving, and don’t leave before dealing with it and re-checking if it is below normal. Bring snacks and drinks with you, and if you’re on a long trip, a meal just in case. Put insulin under the seat in a cooler or thermal bag, but not in the trunk, on the dashboard or on ice. Plan stops for checking glucose and stretching, and pull over at the first signs of hypoglycemia.
When traveling by air:
Call your airline to find out how to bring syringes and lancets through security checkpoints. Keep the outside boxes of your insulin and/or glucagon, so the prescription labels can be shown to security, bring a medical letter documenting your diabetes, and speak to the security guard in advance. Carry snacks in case your meal doesn’t arrive soon enough. Don’t pack insulin in your checked luggage; it will be damaged by extreme temperatures in the cargo hold. Keep your diabetes supplies nearby, not in the overhead compartment, so they’re accessible at all times. Drink bottled water to stay hydrated.
Cut down the costs of diabetes
Check your health insurance to know exactly what it covers. Be sure to comparison-shop when buying supplies. Blood glucose meters may be available for free if you buy 100 test strips, but pay attention to quality and meter features. Buy only the amount of test strips you can use before they expire. Don’t split your test strips or re-use lancets. You can re-use syringes, although after about five uses the needle begins to get dull. Instead of alcohol wipes, use soap and water to clean your skin at the injection site, then dry it to avoid diluting the blood drop.
More cost-cutting tips for managing diabetes
Instead of expensive, packaged “dietetic” foods, shop for healthy basic foods. Begin collecting free make-ahead or no-time healthy recipes from diabetes associations and other sources. Clip coupons and look for weekly specials. If you’re given a brand prescription, ask if a generic would work, and if free samples are available. Ask your pharmacy about discounts and rebates. Check out free offers from diabetes associations and manufacturers of diabetes drugs or equipment. Know the insurance laws in your state or learn more about Medicare coverage. If necessary, find out if you qualify for state or drug manufacturer patient assistance programs.
When you’re having a sick day
Stick to your usual medication, including injections; you may need it more than usual. The only exception is if your health care professional advises you to change it. Check blood glucose every three to four hours around the clock. Write these results down so you can communicate them over the phone if necessary. Drink fluids that are sugar-free, but if you can’t eat, alternate them with fluids containing sugar, such as juice or regular soda. Rest and call your health care professional if you are vomiting or have diarrhea, excessively high blood sugar or any questions or concerns.
Helping your child manage diabetes
Talk to your health care professional about keeping your child’s routine as simple and straightforward as possible, to make success more likely. Involve your child in as many aspects of self-care as possible, for better self-esteem. Keep a diary with your child, using colors and pictures for younger children. Set clear food, exercise and monitoring goals for your child and involve him or her in the planning. Recognize your child’s positive efforts, not just what he or she doesn’t do. Be realistic about what can be controlled and what can’t, stay positive and find outlets for your frustration and your child’s.
Organizers you can use
Diabetes management software allows you to analyze trends in your blood glucose levels, and some programs allow direct downloads from your meter. Try commercial or free programs, but check their compatibility with your meter and (for Web-based software) privacy policies. The MedPort Organizers are zippered soft cases in different sizes that carry your supplies and have a cool side for insulin. For women, the Hope Handbag is designed with pockets for supplies. The Diabetes Day-to-Day Calendar provides helpful information and inspiring words about diabetes management. A vibrating alarm watch, available from many manufacturers, can serve as a non-disruptive reminder system.
Caring for your feet
Wash your feet with soap and warm (not hot) water every day, and pat dry carefully, including between the toes. Use lotion, especially over your heels. Check your feet daily. Use a mirror if necessary to see the soles of your feet. Ask your health care professional how to self-treat corns, calluses, bunions or cracks in the skin of your heel. Call your health care professional if you see swelling, redness, or feel numbness or tingling in either foot. Don’t go barefoot. Wear well-fitting shoes and seamless socks, and don’t let your feet get too hot or cold.
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Keywords: diabetes, insulin, travel, traveling, child, feet
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