Canadian Health: Life with diabetes
HOLIDAYS AND TRAVEL
I would like to go on a skiing holiday. Is it safe for me to ski, skate and toboggan? Should I take special precautions?
It is as safe for someone with diabetes to ski and enjoy other winter sports as it is for anyone else. Accidents do occur and it is essential to take out adequate insurance to cover all medical expenses. Read the small print in the insurance form carefully to ensure that it does not exclude pre-existing conditions like diabetes, or require them to be declared. In this case you should contact the insurance company and if necessary take out extra medical cover for your diabetes. Diabetes UK can provide travel insurance that will cover your diabetes. Physical activity increases the likelihood of hypos so always carry glucose and a snack as you may be delayed, especially if you are injured. Never go without a sensible companion who knows you have diabetes and understands what to do if you have a hypo.
Do make sure your ski boots are properly fitted, particularly if you have any degree of neuropathy. Poorly fitting boots are a very common cause of foot damage and ulceration.
Is sunbathing all right for people with diabetes?
Of course people with diabetes can sunbathe. Lying around doing nothing may put your blood glucose up a little, especially if you overeat as most people do on holiday. So keep up your usual tests as you may need extra insulin. On the other hand, increasing the temperature of the skin may speed up the absorption of the insulin and can lead to hypos, so be prepared for changes. Remember that sunbathing can increase the risk of skin cancer whether or not you have diabetes, so always take sensible precautions to avoid sunburn by covering up, in the middle of the day particularly, and using sunscreen with a high protection factor.
I am going to work in the Middle East for six months. What can I do if my insulin is not available in the country where I am working?
If you are working abroad for six months only, it should be quite easy to take enough insulin to last you this length of time. Stored in an ordinary fridge it should keep – but make sure that you are not supplied with insulin near the end of its shelf life. The expiry date is printed on each box of insulin.
Most types of insulin are available in the Middle East, but you may have to make do with a different brand name or even insulin from a different source (pig, cow or human). Understandably, porcine insulin may be hard to obtain in strict Muslim countries. U100 insulin may be difficult to obtain outside the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and parts of the Far East. Many European countries stock insulin in 40 units/mL only and special syringes for use with U40 insulin will have to be obtained. Diabetes UK can tell you which strength insulin is used in each country.
In the next article, read the continuation of today’s topic, and do not forget that here you can buy the dates of your medication in Canada and America – www.acanadianhealthcaremall.com.