As the summer months are coming, our minds are turning toward travel. It has been a very difficult year and people are anxious to begin to venture away from home a bit. We all will have to be more careful this year and those of us who decide to take the family on a vacation will have to be diligent to be safe. It is even more challenging if you have a child with type 1 diabetes. But, with some careful planning, it can be done and you can have a great time.
We are going to give you a few tips to make traveling with your diabetic child easier.
Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. In a normal body, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps adjust our metabolic rate. When we eat, the food turns into glucose. Protein takes a while to convert while carbohydrates and sugars convert very quickly. Insulin guides the glucose into the cells and we use it for energy. What is left is stored in the liver. When we have used up the energy in the cells, more is released.
In the body of a diabetic, the immune system attacks the insulin being produced. With no insulin to route the insulin, it continues to circulate in the blood. This damages our organs. Heart damage, liver damage, failed kidneys, and even blindness can occur if the blood sugar is not reduced. High blood sugar makes the person feel bad. They get shaky, dizzy, and sometimes feel faint. They can become lethargic. This can lead to seizures and in severe cases, diabetic coma.
Low blood sugar happens when there is not enough sugar in the body for it to function. This will lead to dizziness, nausea, hunger, thirst, vomiting, fainting, and confusion.
To control blood sugar in a diabetic their blood needs to be monitored several times per day. This is done with a simple but effective blood glucose meter. Among the best meters available is the Contour Next Meter. This meter is made by industry leader, Ascensia. The meter is compact, easy to use, accurate, and records your recent readings.
Ascensia has been making products to control diabetes since the 1940s. They have more than 70 years of research, development, and experience behind them. They are committed to helping people with this disease win the battle against diabetes.
It is a myth that a diabetic cannot eat sugar. However, they have to eat a balanced diet. Since sugar raises the glucose and gives no nutritional value, it is best skipped.
A healthy body is a strong body. Nothing makes your body stronger or helps you burn excess sugar better than exercise.
Traveling with your diabetic child
- Bring double the diabetic supplies you would normally use
- Your child will be out of her normal routine. Stress affects diabetes. She will be in strange places and may not want to cooperate as easily as she normally does. Be aware that you may need to check her blood more often.
- Always have candy, a snack, or some juice with you.
- Keep a glucose meter in your bag (handbag, beach bag, or carry-on luggage). Keep a spare meter in the room.
- Always have a copy of your child’s prescriptions with you. You can get this printout at your pharmacy. This makes it easier to board a plane and to get help if her medications come up missing.
- Carry meds in a bag with a cooling method. Make sure your medications are stored at the proper temperatures.
- Plan your day
- Do not just hit the road having no idea where you are going and how long it would take to get there.
- Include rest times, and quiet places. Traveling is sometimes overwhelming. Trying to check a child’s blood or give them medication with strangers all around may upset them. Short naps in the stroller or in a car seat are not the same as a quiet nap lying down.
- If you are going to a place that entertains children (like a theme park) call ahead and asks if they have special facilities for children who need special care. They may have a Mommy & Me room where you can rest or feed the child.
- Don’t push your limits. Do the most important thing to you, first. After that, roll with the flow. If you miss something, that is okay. Do not try to force a child into seeing every site they can see. Let them enjoy the things they enjoy and if fatigue or feeling poorly means cutting down the schedule, then cut it.
Traveling with a diabetic child is a bit of a challenge until you get the hang of it or until they grow up a little. But, it is worth it. It can be enjoyable.
They will only be little, a little while. Do not let this disease take that away from you. Fight it and win.