Things to Remember
Insulin and insulin equipment
It is important to have all your supplies in a clear bag in your hand luggage. If more than one person is travelling it is a good idea to divide the supplies between the hand luggage of two or three people. Do not put all your supplies in one suitcase as this might go missing.
Insulin will freeze at altitude so should never be put in the hold of the aircraft.
If you/your child have an insulin pump you may be able to obtain a spare one in case of emergency but remember to take your other insulin injecting equipment (insulin pens and cartridges).
For information about airport security see Traveling With An Insulin Pump (Medtronic).
Blood glucose and blood ketone monitoring equipment
Items you need to take with you:
- Extra supplies
- Sick day management guide
- Remember to keep Glucagon in a cool place and take six months off the expiry date if unused when you return.
An insulin travel wallet or cool bag for keeping medications cool
- We recommend that you use a Frio pack. This can be bought from their website.
The Children’s Diabetes Nurse will be able to provide you with a letter to confirm:
- That you need to carry supplies of insulin and diabetes equipment.
- That you are using an Insulin pump / wearing a Sensor if applicable.
ALWAYS have something that identifies that you have diabetes and indicates what treatment you need in an emergency.
You may find the following websites helpful:
Things to consider before travelling
- Check in advance that your travel insurance covers you and your child for any diabetes treatment that may be required.
- Diabetes UK Insurance Services has created a travel insurance package.
- Their website has good information.
- In addition, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you/your child to state provided health care for accidents or illnesses within European Economic Area or Switzerland but it will not cover you if you/your child needs to be brought home for medical reasons. It is free and valid for up to five years. This is available from the Post Office or online.
- You may also require a letter saying you are fit to travel – available from the team.
Time zone changes
You may need to consider:
- Travelling East – consider taking basal insulin 2-3 hours later the night before.
- It is advisable to reduce basal insulin the day of travel by 10% if going to a hot climate
- Test /scan more frequently the first 24 hours, you can talk to one of the diabetes nurses if you need further advice.
- Please contact the Children’s ward 01324 567203 in FVRH for advice whilst away as Diabetes team are unable to call you back on your mobile if we know you are out of the country.
- Diabetes UK provides information for individual countries.
- Vaccinations may be required for certain countries – discuss with your GP or travel centre (diabetes should not impact on this).
- Visit Fit for Travel NHS website.
- Check if you need Travel Immunisations.
Extremes of temperature may affect blood glucose control
- Insulin adjustments may be needed for holidays.
- If you require advice contact the team a few weeks before you are going to travel.
- Upload your meter and have correct ICR’s and background insulin & “sick days”/ ketone correction dose written down.
- Adjustments to insulin doses may be suggested and it is essential to monitor, record, and make further adjustments as required.
In hot weather
- Insulin may be absorbed more quickly in hot weather and increase the risk of hypos.
- The risk of hypos may be increased if you are/your child is very active at a water park or in the pool.
- Keep the blood glucose meter in the shade.
In cold weather
- Insulin is absorbed more slowly initially, but can be absorbed quickly once you warm up.
- The body also uses up energy staying warm and this can lead to hypos.
- It is important to keep the blood glucose meter in an inside pocket, as cold weather may affect its accuracy.
Sugar free juice availability
- Sugar free juices may not be readily available where you are going.
- If you are buying travel sickness remedies do inform the pharmacist that you/your child have/has diabetes.
- Useful information on managing your diabetes at music festivals can be found here.
- All medicines and equipment should be carried in your hand luggage, if possible, split between separate bags
- Take twice the amount of tablets, insulin, pens, syringes and needles
- Carry diabetes identification with you
- Take a sharps container to dispose of needles
- Make sure to have hypo treatment and additional snacks
- You can ask for a lanyard at airport customer services desk, which should get you through security checks quicker
- No electronic equipment (meter, pump, libre scanner) should go on the baggage scanner belt or through the metal detector. Instead, it should be put into a tray to be checked separately.
- You will need a travel letter to allow you to pass through security with your diabetes medications and to be exempt from passing through the X-ray machines with a Libre sensor.
Please contact the diabetes team early to get your travel letter.