Managing Your Diabetes at Work, School, and During Travel

Staying in charge of your diabetes no matter what your day holds—work, school, travel, or special events—takes planning ahead. Many days will go smoothly, but some days will hold surprises, such as extra activity or delays that throw your schedule off.

Plan ahead for these times by always keeping a treatment for low blood glucose. If you have any signs that your glucose may below, go ahead and treat it right away.

Stay as close to your eating, activity, and medicine schedule as you can. Keep track of your blood glucose so you can pick up changes early. Always wear or carry identification that says you have diabetes.

Talk with your health care team about your planned schedule and activities. Ask for help in planning ahead for work, school, travel, and special events. When you read the rest of this section, you may think of more questions to ask.

At Work and School

Talk with your health care team about the type of activity you do at work or at school. From time to time, you and your healthcare team may need to make changes in your activity, medicine, or eating.

Many people take supplies for checking their glucose to school or work so they can check if at regular break times. Some people choose to show their fellow workers, their teachers, or their classmates how to help if they should ever have a problem. They teach them how to tell when their glucose is low and how to treat it. Some people like to have written steps on file at their place of work or with their teacher.

During Travel

When you plan a trip, think about your day-to-day schedule and try to stay as close to it as you can. For example, if you usually check your blood glucose at noon and then eat lunch, plan to do this on your trip, as well. Trips can hold surprises—in delays and changes. Even the types of food and supplies you can buy on your trip may not be the same as those you get at home.

Before you travel, work with your health care provider to plan your timing for medicine, food, and activity. Talk about what to do if you find changes in your glucose readings.

Plan ahead for trips:

  • Keep snacks with you that could be used to prevent—or treat—low blood glucose.
  • Carry extra food and drink supplies with you, such as cracker packs and small cans of juices or bottled water.
  • Carry glucose testing supplies with you.
  • Take along all the diabetes medicine you’ll need. Keep medicines in the original pharmacy container with the printed label that clearly identifies the medicine.

When you travel, be sure to

  • Test your glucose often and keep track of it.
  • Wear identification that says you have diabetes.
  • Let others know how they can help you.
  • Check new airline travel tips by contacting the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or 800-322-7873.

If you’re traveling in a different time zone, you may need to change your timing of food, medicine, and activity. Ask your health care provider to help you with this. Talk about the food and drink choices that would be healthy for you. If you’ll be in another country, ask your doctor to write a letter explaining that you have diabetes. It’s also a good idea to get your doctor to write a prescription for you to get insulin or supplies if needed.

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