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Florida Guide > Travelling

Florida with diabetes

Diabetic, live in the UK and never been to Florida before? No worries if you get just a little organised first.

It's not normally necessary to order a diabetic meal from your airline as this usually has too little carbohydrate content and a 'normal' meal should be fine.

Diet alone
If you're just on dietary control, just follow your normal routine. Although there's a time difference and you may get out of synch with your meals, this is only for your two travel days (one on the way there and one on the way back) after which you can get back on track with your meal times.

On tablets
If you're on tablets then it would be wise to talk over your trip either with your doctor or your Diabetes Specialist Nurse (if you have one). Some tablets may cause hypos if you don't eat regularly so you may need to sort out how many tablets to take and when you should take these, to fit in with the time difference on your journey.

Make absolutely sure that you have plenty of tablets to take with you and some extra to cover any travel delays.

Some tablets prescribed in the UK don't exist in the USA and you would need to see and pay a doctor for an alternative prescription and then pay a pharmacy to obtain your tablets. This would cost a minimum of US$130 and may be much more and you may not be able to claim this from your insurance. How do I know this? My mother forgot to pack enough tablets and we had to do this recently. Her tablets weren't available in the USA and she had to take a different type for a time so had to monitor her blood glucose levels closely. Don't let this happen to you!

On insulin
Liaise early with your doctor or Diabetes Specialist Nurse as it's important that you know what dose of insulin you are injecting at what time because of the time/meal difference on your journey as this may not be the same as when you're at home. If you can find out from your airline what meals are provided and when before you ask your doctor or DSN, this would be really helpful for them when trying to work it out.

Take your insulin in its original packaging with the pharmacy label which has your name on it.

Get a letter from your doctor stating that you need to keep your insulin and blood glucose testing kit with you at all times on your journey. You may pass through several airport security checks and need to be able to prove (if necessary) that you require your supplies in the plane cabin with you.

Neither insulin nor testing strips will survive a journey in the cargo hold of the plane because they're temperature sensitive. Keep both handy in your hand luggage so that they can stay at room temperature.

Take some glucose or sugary snacks in your hand luggage too as the time and meal differences may cause a hypo. Check your blood glucose regularly. If you have a problem, ask the cabin staff for a fruit juice drink or, if that's not available, a non-diet drink or even some milk.

If you're going in the summer months, the weather will be too hot to carry your insulin around with you without cooling it. Frio containers are specifically made to keep insulin cool for up to 48 hours just with water and you can get these from http://www.friouk.com/ They are excellent and work really well.

Don't do what one guest's child did and put your insulin accidentally into the freezer and ruin it! If you're staying at a Florida home with the double side-by-side doors type of fridge/freezer, then note that the left side of this is the freezer and the right side is the fridge - they look similar inside so it's difficult to tell.

Know that the Florida heat may affect your blood glucose levels and may cause hypos. Always carry around a sugary snack with you.

Beware that some types of insulin aren't available in the USA, particularly if you use a cartridge pen as these are relatively rare and they have only one insulin type available to fit these - if it doesn't happen to be yours, you've got a problem! Take enough with you to last for your entire trip (including some extra in case there are any delays in your journey).

All sorted!
So, you've done a bit of sensible preparation and you're on your way! You'll have a great time!

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 6 February 2006
Viewed 3480 times since 1 September 2008.

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