Avoiding Sickness Abroad with Diabetes

Posted by sean on Tue, 01/15/2013 - 18:22 in


Sean walks among the shops in Melbourne, Australia

Last week, I discussed what I do (and have done) if I get sick on an expedition with diabetes. This week, I want to address some precautions I always take to prevent getting sick.

1.  Get up-to-date on immunizations.

For me, it’s always been a no brainer. Getting a flu shot, along with all the other immunizations I’ll need in a given country, is the first step I take before leaving on a trip.

2.  Pack a medical kit.

Of course, I include my diabetes supplies (and back-up diabetes supplies—and back-ups for the back-ups), but I also pack Ibuprofen, Tylenol®, Benadryl® and some basic first aid supplies. Also, don’t forget extra batteries for your diabetes devices and any other gadgets you bring along!

3.  Take extra special care when ordering food abroad.

My travel companions will be the first to attest that I always err on the side of caution. In a place where the water isn’t the greatest, I will avoid drinking all tap water, brushing my teeth under tap water and using ice cubes. I also try to go to restaurants that come highly recommended in guidebooks and by friends. Although there’s always a chance for food poisoning, I figure I can lessen my chance if I go places others have been.

4.  Be extra careful about carrying insulin.

I always try to make a plan for how I’m going to keep it cool on the road. There are products available like rechargeable refrigeration units that are incredibly compact that I can tote with me on the road. Otherwise, reusable ice packs and lunchboxes (as I’m sure we all know) work great, too!

Hopefully by taking these precautions, you can avoid any unnecessary trips to a foreign hospital while on the road!