Summer is the season for travel – the kids are out of school and the weather is beautiful! Some of us choose to fly, attend a cruise, or take a leisurely trip on a train. Most of us opt for car travel. No other form of travel quite parallels the freedom and spontaneity that a road-trip allows, which makes for an exciting trip!
That being said, when you’re diabetic, you’ve got a couple of things to consider and prepare for prior to setting out on your summer adventure to ensure that you don’t encounter undesired blood sugar inconsistencies, risk to your health, and a halt on your summer fun.
We’ve compiled five tips to keep handy when packing for your next summer travel journey that are sure to have you well equipped should you notice inconsistencies in your blood glucose levels that need attending to.
1. Keep Juice, Sugary Snacks, or Glucose Tablets Handy to Ward Off Low Blood Sugars.
Nothing can ruin a promising road-trip like feeling ill, or worse yet, a trip to the hospital due to severely low blood sugars. In order to avoid low blood sugar and a damper on your travels, be sure to keep handy pre-packaged juice (single serving portions are great for travel), sugary snacks (candy bars, chocolate, etc.), or glucose tablets at all times. If your blood sugars drop below your target blood glucose range, be sure to reach for a sugary quick-fix to restore optimal blood sugar levels.
2. Take Breaks to Stretch Often.
Whether you are diabetic or not, it is important to take frequent breaks to stretch. Stopping to stretch increases circulation in your extremities, ensuring proper blood flow and lowering risk for pain, blood clots, and fatigue. It is recommended that you stop to stretch every couple of hours for approximately 20-30 minutes to achieve optimal break-time benefits.
3. Test Your Blood Sugars Each Time You Stop to Stretch.
Checking your blood glucose level often is the first line of defense against inconsistent blood sugars, giving you the opportunity to restore your levels to your target range, preventing illness and health risk all together. Make a habit of checking your blood glucose levels each time you stop to stretch. Making blood glucose monitoring part of your routine will not only ensure that you get to maintain health and enjoy your trip, it makes it easy to implement into your day.
4. Pack Healthy Snack Options to Avoid Fast Food Consumption.
Fast food is loaded with simple carbs and sugars that are guaranteed to cause a spike in your blood sugar levels and a subsequent crash that results in low blood sugar levels. These inconsistencies can pose a significant risk to your health and well-being. Avoid the risk altogether by packing a cooler full of healthy diabetic-friendly snack and/or meal options to satisfy your hunger during your trip. If you are getting an early start to your travels or traveling through the night, be sure that you do not skip breakfast on your road trip. You can find healthy options at fast food restaurants such as oatmeal, fruit cups, parfaits, etc.
5. If You Begin to Suspect Low Blood Sugars, Pull Over Immediately.
The most important thing you can do to ensure a safe and enjoyable road-trip is to pay attention to your body’s cues and how you are feeling. If you begin to experience symptoms of low blood sugars, pull over immediately and choose a suitable sugary quick-fix (juice, candy, etc.), or take glucose tabs to restore blood sugar to a safe level before proceeding on the remainder of your trip.
Taking a road trip with friends or family can be a fun time for everyone. Don’t let your diabetes get in the way of stopping you from enjoying this experience. Test often, eat healthy, and take breaks.
Matt Schmidt is the co-founder of Diabetes Life Solutions and Diabetes365.org. Matt’s father was diagnosed with diabetes and their journey to try and find affordable life insurance for Matt’s diabetic father was a tough one. He decided that no one with diabetes should have to go through that journey and has since been helping find life insurance for diabetics at affordable costs.