Islets of Hope care tips for persons with diabetes
Article by Lahle Wolfe.
We recommend that you vist the following links for up-to-date travel information:
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BD Diabetes: Injecting while traveling
According to BD Diabetes, insulin can safely be scanned by X-ray machines in airport terminals. However, they also state that prolonged or repeated exposure can affect the stability of insulin. BD Diabetes suggests that when traveling, you inspect your insulin each time before using it.
You have the right to ask for your medications, including insulin, be visually screened. See our Traveling with Diabetes: Laws and Policies section for more information.
Did you know?
...that most insulin pump companies will rent or loan you a spare insulin pump to take with you when you travel? Pumps can fail so it may be worthwhile to contact your pump company and ask about spare pumps for traveling.
... that you should not inject air into insulin bottles when in the air on a plane? The cabin is already pressurized and injecting air will cause too much pressure inside the insulin bottle.
Site Links for Information About Traveling with Diabetes
Diabetes Prevention and Control Program - Traveling with Diabetes: General & Safety Information Needed for A Healthy Trip (including laws regulating traveling with diabetes supplies).
Diabetes UK offers valuable tips for traveling abroad with diabetes
Mini Site Index
Different Countries Use Different Units of Measurement
Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, and the United States are just a few of the countries that measure blood glucose in mg/dL
Canada, China, Denmark, Ireland, Russian, the United Kingdom are some of the countries that measure blood glucose in mmol/L.
Some countries used both units of measurements, including Germany, Oman, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
To see what units of measurements are used throughout the world, visit Lifescan.com.
Different Measurements for Blood Glucose Testing
If you need to travel to another country you will need to know how to measure units and blood glucose levels. This information is helpful should you need medical care or have to replace (or purchase) insulin or syringes or your test meter.
Measurement for blood glucose levels is calculated in mg/dL or mmol/L. The difference between the two measurements is rather significant. For example, if you reset your meter from mg/dL into mmol/L a reading of 100 mg/dL would show as 5.5 mmol/L.
Test meters often have the option of selecting which measurement you wish to use. If you purchase a test meter in a country that uses a different measurement for blood glucose be sure to reset the meter so you won't misread your blood glucose levels.
Different Insulin Strengths
Travelers should find out what types and strengths of insulin are available in the area to which they will be traveling. In some countries (the U.S., for example) certain types of insulins are available without a prescription. But you should still have a letter from your doctor as well as your prescription label information for all your diabetes care supplies -- especially for insulin and syringes.
Insulins used in the UK and many other countries are of the strength U-100 (insulin comes with an orange cap) but in some other countries insulin may come in U-40 (red caps) or U-80 strengths. These insulins are not interchangeable. Should they need to be used, the appropriate syringes are also required (certain syringes are only to be used with U-100 and others with U-40).
While you can use a different U-strength of insulin it will affect how much to inject. Be sure to understand the difference.
The following link is related to feline insulin administration, but serves as an example (and explanation) of different insulin strengths and conversions: FelineDiabetes.com
Carry an "I have diabetes and take insulin" Placard in Your Car
If you are not fluent in the language of the country that you are visiting, carry a card in your wallet, as well as one you can place on the windshield of your car that you have diabetes. Write it in English as well as in the main language of the country that you are visiting.
Sadly, even in the U.S. there have been more than one reported case of a person with diabetes losing consciousness and being mistaken for simply being drunk. (Read Diabetes Headline News, Human Interest Stories, October 2006)
I Have Diabetes - Translated into Other Languages
Write the following phrase (or something similar) on a card to carry in your wallet or purse. If you will be driving in another country, it is also a good idea to have a placard placed in the windshield while you are driving.
English: I have diabetes and take insulin. Please call for medical help.
Spanish: Tengo diabetes y tomo la insulina. Por favor llamada para la ayuda médica.
French: J'ai le diabète et prends l'insuline. Svp appel pour l'aide médicale.
Italian: Ho diabete e prendo l'insulina. Prego richiesta per aiuto medico.
German: Ich habe Diabetes und nehme Insulin. Bitte rufen um medizinische Hilfe.
Portuguese: Eu tenho o diabetes e faço exame do insulin. Por favor chamada para a ajuda médica.
To create your own phrases, or to translate the above to or from another language, use Google's translator.
Page Updated 05/03/2006