Health charity urges local people with diabetes to travel safely this summer
Diabetes UK Cymru is urging people diagnosed with diabetes in Merthyr and in Rhondda Cynon Taf to travel safely when heading off for their summer holidays.
Diabetes UK Cymru’s Director Dai Williams said: “Given that the school holidays are now in full swing, we know that lots of people with diabetes across Merthyr and RCT will be heading abroad to enjoy some sunshine so we want to remind everyone that having diabetes doesn’t prevent you from travelling but preparation is key to ensuring that you have a safe trip.
“There are a few key things that you can do before you leave. It’s a good idea to get a letter from your GP stating that you have diabetes and what medication you need to treat it. If you use a pump, this should also be stated in the letter. Travel insurance is vital and make sure that your diabetes is covered. It’s also a good idea to wear a form of medical identification, such as a bracelet or necklace, as if you have an accident this will ensure that medical professionals will know what medication you are on.
“Make sure that you have at least double the amount of medication you need, such as insulin, pump supplies, and glucose tablets in case any are lost or stolen. Pack a recent prescription with the generic names of your medication and some local currency in case you need to get more in a hurry while away.”
Diabetes UK Cymru also advises people with diabetes to liaise with their healthcare team, especially if travelling long-haul, as a change in time zones may mean a change in how much medication you need. Travelling anywhere with extreme temperatures can affect the accuracy of blood glucose meter readings, as temperatures can affect the absorption of insulin, so Diabetes UK Cymru recommends that people monitor their diabetes more often while on holiday.
Mr Williams explains, “As well as checking blood glucose levels more often, if travelling somewhere with extreme temperatures, it’s important to be aware that insulin is damaged by very high and low temperatures, so never put your insulin in the hold of an aeroplane. You can phone the hotel in advance to ask if there is a fridge in the room to help keep your insulin cool.
“Having diabetes doesn’t need to be a barrier in the way you travel, it’s just really important to prepare so that you stay healthy and can therefore fully enjoy your holiday.”
There are over 17,400 people in Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf who have been diagnosed with diabetes.
To find out more about how to travel safely with diabetes, visit www.diabetes.org.uk.