If you have Diabetes there are a few extra things you need to attend to before going on a trip to ensure that you are well equipped.


Diabetes patients worry about a variety of concerns when they are travelling. Some of these concerns are the same as those any holiday maker would have, for example coping with holiday illness or ensuring that they have their prescriptions filled out on time, with a sufficient amount to cover their holiday. Other concerns are specific to Diabetic patients, such as adjusting insulin administration times for time zone changes, using and carrying insulin on board aircraft, or ensuring that blood sugar levels are adequately stabilized throughout long journeys.


Burkes Pharmacy are here to help. Burke’s Pharmacy can help with the answers to any and all questions Diabetics may have.


Diabetes is a condition that affects 200,000 Irish people, and a further 20,000 people will develop Type 2 Diabetes in the next three years, which could be halved with simple lifestyle measures. In its early stages, Diabetes can have few symptoms and there is an average of seven years between its onset and when it is diagnosed. However, even if there are few symptoms, damage can still be occurring to the body.


Burke’s Pharmacy have a Diabetic screening service where, for a small fee, people can have their blood sugar level tested. This is a simple blood test which can determine if the blood glucose level is too high. If this is the case, Diabetes may be present and the patient will be referred to their doctor for further tests.


Tips for Travelling for Diabetics:


  • A diabetes identity card is an important document for people with diabetes wherever they might be going. Have yours updated by your doctor before you travel.
  • Ask your healthcare professional what your insulin is called in the country you are travelling to when travelling abroad, as products are sometimes called different names.
  • Consult your healthcare professional before embarking on a journey across time zones. As your insulin therapy is affected by changing time zones, you will need to adapt your insulin intake when making long haul flights. The simple rule is that you need to boost your long acting insulin dose whenever the day gets longer, and to decrease it whenever the day gets shorter.
  • Check the weather conditions at your destination e.g. when travelling to the tropics or going on a winter holiday, prior to departure. Familiarising yourself with the conditions enables you to plan your blood glucose measurements accordingly.
  • Put together a special first aid kit for travelling (see recommended items to include)
  • Have your eyes checked when planning a long car journey.


**Recommendation for your first aid kit:


It is sensible to put together not only a general first-aid kit, but also a special kit for your diabetes before setting off on a trip, so that you can continue to check your blood glucose every day and take your insulin as usual.

  • Blood glucose meter, spare batteries, lancing device, lancets, spare strips
  • Twice as much insulin as you think you need for the planned duration of the trip
  • Spare pen, disposable syringes
  • Glucose and/or snacks
  • Glucagon emergency kit
  • Diabetes identity card and diary
  • Carbohydrate exchange calculator
  • When travelling abroad: a doctor’s certificate for customs, stating that you need your syringes and medication with you at all times
  • Plasters, scissors, tweezers, disinfectant
  • Your regular medication
  • Antipyretics (medicine to control temperature), painkillers, medication for diarrhoea, nausea and constipation