How can I prepare so that I stay healthy for my trip?
How can I reduce the effects of jet lag?
Minimize jet lag with a few preventive measures: Before you fly, try to reduce stress, get plenty of exercise, and eat a nutritious preflight meal. Also, be aware that jet lag can mimic the symptoms of high or low blood glucose. The only way to know for certain which you are experiencing is to check your blood glucose regularly.
In hotels, restaurants, or cruise ship dining rooms, don't be afraid to ask for choices that are not shown on the menu. The worst the waiter can say is "no."
Never leave your used sharps in a wastebasket or in a seat pocket. Someone could get stuck later. Try carrying a clear water bottle with a screw cap to use as a temporary sharps container. Anyone handling it later will be protected from being stuck.
Always carry a source of glucose such as hard candy, glucose tablets, regular soda, or fruit juice to deal with an unexpected drop in blood glucose.
If you’re going on a cruise, plan on bringing enough diabetes supplies to last you throughout your trip — plus extra for "just in case." The ship will not have a pharmacy.
If you’re going to be crossing time zones, consult your doctor before your trip, preferably with your itinerary in hand, about how to adjust your insulin or other medicines.
Take more supplies than you would normally need. A small pouch containing appropriate supplies such as pills, insulin, syringes, a blood glucose meter, and test strips will help you manage your diabetes through travel delays or lost luggage scenarios. A sandwich, packaged peanut butter and crackers, and glucose tablets or gel can be literal lifesavers when the vending machines are empty and the concessions are closed. A prepaid phone card will allow you to make calls without a pocketful of change.
No — you should never place insulin in your checked luggage, since it could be subjected to extremes of temperature that would degrade it.
When you’re flying, keep all your diabetes supplies in your carry-on bag. That way, your supplies will be with you at all times.
One syringe can be used multiple times throughout a day, unless you have a history of infections or are ill or immune-compromised. Check with your doctor before you do this.
With good hygiene, it is usually acceptable to use the same lancet throughout a 24-hour period (but check with your doctor first).
Yes — buying your supplies in bulk can save a significant amount of money. However, make sure you don't buy more of any item than you will use before its expiration date.
It is a good idea for anyone with diabetes to wear a medical identification bracelet indicating that he has diabetes, just in case he is ever unable to speak for himself.
Adequate levels of many nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin K, are necessary to build healthy bones. The most important of these are calcium and vitamin D.
Try using a “white noise generator,” a fan, or a tape of nature sounds to block unwanted noise when trying to sleep.
Avoid long naps during the day if you have insomnia. Exercising during the day can also promote sleep at night. Finally, getting some sun exposure during the day can help improve sleep.
Keeping a sleep diary can help you figure out what’s keeping you up or what works best to help you sleep. Each morning, record in your sleep diary when you went to bed, about how long it took to go to sleep, about how many times you recall waking up, when you got up, and how rested you feel. Record any naps you took the day before. Also rate your energy level and alertness during the day on a scale of 1 to 10. If this doesn’t improve your sleep quality, you may want to consult a sleep specialist.
Thinner pillows may give better posture and provide more comfortable sleep to people who sleep on their backs, while people who sleep on their sides may need thicker pillows for more neck support. You can also try a pillow or bolster behind you when you sleep on your side, or a pillow under your feet or between your knees to reduce back strain.
To help yourself sleep, reduce caffeine, limit alcohol, and stop smoking. Get in the habit of using your bed only for sleep and sex. Don’t read, eat, talk on the phone, or watch television in bed. Get up at the same time every morning, whether you’ve slept or not. Be patient, as it can take at least two weeks to learn new sleep behaviors.
To learn more about the medicines you take, read the information sheets given out with prescriptions by your pharmacist, or talk to your doctor, nurse, or diabetes educator about your medicines.
Avoid “natural” calcium supplements that contain calcium from coral, oyster shells, dolomite, or bone meal, because these sources are more likely to be contaminated with lead and other dangerous substances.
If you need a calcium supplement to meet your calcium requirements, choose one that contains calcium citrate, calcium lactate, or calcium carbonate.
Choose supplements that have the USP (United States Pharmacopeia) seal, showing they meet government guidelines for production and dissolution.
Talk to your doctor before starting any dietary or herbal supplements. He should be able advise you about whether the supplement is safe and effective, and whether it may interact with any other drugs you take.
At your first appointment, tell your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter drugs you are taking. Bring a list of all of your medicines to your appointment, or bring the drugs themselves (in their original containers).
Filling all of your prescriptions at one pharmacy, if possible, can help your pharmacist catch any potential interactions between drugs you take. And when you refill your prescriptions, note whether your pills (or insulin) look different from those you normally take. If they do, check it out with your pharmacist.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are generic equivalents to the drugs you take, and consider using combination tablets that contain more than one drug to reduce your co-pays and the number of pills you take each day.
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include possible burning upon urination, the need to urinate frequently or urgently, and lower abdominal pain. Urine may look milky or cloudy, or possible even reddish from blood.
Not necessarily. It is possible to have extremely elevated blood glucose without ketones, especially in people with Type 2 diabetes who are dehydrated. This is called hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, and its symptoms include excessive thirst, hallucination, sensory loss, rapid eye movement, paralysis on one side of the body, and seizure. It may be mistaken for a stroke.
Check for ketones if your blood glucose level is over 250 mg/dl twice in a row, or even only once if you intend to exercise soon.
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