The Children and Young People’s Diabetes Team
The Children’s Diabetes Teams at James Cook University Hospital and The Friarage Hospital would like you and your child to have a great holiday.
With just a little planning and extra preparation we are confident that diabetes will not get in the way of you all enjoying yourselves.
Lets start with equipment, please take double the amount of everything that you think you will need. Although this means double the amount of packing space it is best to cover all eventualities such as loss, damage or the extra care needed due to illness.
Insulin pen and needles
Glucose meter and strips
Finger – pricking device and lancers
Ketone testing strips
Small Sharps Box or sealed plastic container
I.D card or bracelet
E111 from Post office
Provisions for the treatment of low blood sugar
- Glucose Tablets
- Small plastic bottle of Lucozade
- Glucagon Hypokit
- Appropriate snacks, for example; cereal bars in case of delays
Storage of equipment
Insulin will keep for one month at room temperature. However, it can be damaged if the temperature is too high or too low.
If you are flying keep the insulin in your hand luggage as it is too cold in the hold where your suitcase will be stored.
Once you are abroad keep the insulin in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
If it is extremely hot, keep the insulin in the fridge. If you do not have a fridge, you can store it in a cool bag and rotate cool cans or bottles of drink in order to keep the insulin at a lower temperature.
In addition to insulin, other equipment should be kept in your hand luggage; this includes needles.
It is advisable to take a doctor’s letter with you to inform travel personnel that your child has diabetes.
Unfortunately some children and indeed adults suffer from travel sickness. Your child can take travel sickness tablets bought from a chemist.
If your child does begin to vomit:
- Do not stop insulin
- Measure blood sugar every 1-2 hours
- Encourage sips of sugary drinks every 10 minutes
- Encourage plenty of water – small amounts regularly
- You may need to give extra short-acting insulin if blood sugars are consistently high
Other things to consider while you are on your holidays:
Lack of exercise and boredom eating on long journeys
Your child may need to increase their insulin dose on the morning of a long journey.
Increase of activity while on holiday
Your child may need significantly less insulin and, or more boosters before activity and during long activities. An excellent time for enjoying ice cream and lollipops. Take extra care before swimming.
Decrease in activity while on holiday
If your child intends to laze in the sun, read books or watch TV they may need more insulin.
Can increase the rate of insulin absorption, you therefore need to be more alert to signs of low blood sugar and treat accordingly.
Meal times – are likely to be different than at home
- Always carry snacks
- Never stop taking insulin
- Change your mealtimes around so you eat a supper size meal at teatime and a teatime size meal at supper time or,
- You could just put all your meals back an hour or two as you may also enjoy a sleep in on a morning. Be watchful for morning hypos – but a large meal later than usual the evening before will hopefully prevent this
- Remember, late nights means extra snacks will be needed.
Holidays always involve a change in routine and blood sugar control will be affected. The only way to determine if your planning and actions are appropriate is by checking your child’s blood sugar regularly and making alterations as needed.
If you are going abroad you can order an information leaflet relating to the country you are visiting, from Diabetes UK
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.