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“Sweet Travels”

Specialists in Schneider Children's Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes offer tips to diabetics for healthy and safe travel abroad
Date: 02.04.17 | Update: 18.04.17

Before the Trip

  • Request a doctor’s letter in English that outlines your condition, treatment, and insulin dosage and injection schedule
  • Make a photocopy of the letter, and keep the letter with your passport and the second with your medical equipment
  • Photograph the letter with your smartphone
  • Carry travel insurance and ensure the emergency phone number is noted on the document
  • Pack all medical equipment only in hand luggage; the temperature in the airplane hold is very low and the insulin container could freeze, break and/or spoil; also, luggage often doesn’t arrive at its destination

At the Airport/During the Flight
Place all medical equipment for diabetes care, food and a sweet drink in the event of hypoglycemia in your hand luggage; sometimes, weather conditions during the flight can delay the distribution of meals offered. There are lights where meals are not offered; this should be verified beforehand.

If travelling with a group, notify another traveller about your condition and explain what to do in the event of hypoglycemia.

Insulin Pump Users

  • Upon arrival at your destination, change the schedule on the pump timer according to the local time
  • Carry alternative short- and long-lasting insulin injection schedules with you in the event that the pump doesn’t work or you wish to disconnect from the pump
  • Carry the updated pump schedule with you
  • Carry syringes, reserve batteries and short- and long-lasting insulin

Physical Exercise
Walking throughout the trip accounts for increased physical exercise, and planning should be adjusted accordingly:

  • Check glucose regularly, add carbohydrates and/or reduce the insulin dosage on the injection schedule, or reduce dosage on the pump
  • Carry equipment so that it is immediately accessible in the event of hypoglycemia: sugar gel, glucose tablets, sweet drink and glucagon
  • Keep insulin in a refrigerator (not freezer); if this is not possible, keep the insulin in a cooler bag with an icepack
  • NB: Do not leave equipment and especially the insulin in a vehicle’s trunk to avoid high temperatures or theft

The Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes, the National Center for Childhood Diabetes at Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel is one of the largest in the world and treats more than 1,600 diabetics and receives 150 new patients each year. The institute actively conducts advanced basic and clinical research in all aspects of endocrinology and diabetes.

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