Diabetes travel kits are important to have on hand whether you are going across the country or across town. The only difference is the quantity of supplies you take along. Unfortunately, most people with diabetes do not leave home prepared to deal with the range of situations they might confront. So, what are those essential diabetes supplies that you should always have within reach? Here is a checklist.
- Glucose meter. Your glucose meter should be with you at all times, even if you are just going to the grocery store. You never know when you night need to check your blood sugar.
- Extra battery for meter (and insulin pump if you use one). You don’t want your meter to lose battery power right before you sit down to nice meal at your favorite restaurant. Glucose meter batteries differ by manufacturer. Learn the type of battery your meter uses and keep a spare in your testing kit. Insulin pumps will typically let you know when your battery is low, but it doesn’t hurt to carry a spare.
- Test strips. Always keep an ample supply of test strips with you in case you need to test more frequently than you anticipate.
- Lancing device and lancets. Carry at least the number of lancets needed for an entire day of testing. It is preferable to not reuse a lancet since it is not sterile after a single use and is more dull, which increases the discomfort.
- Insulin. If the weather is warm, you might also want to include an insulated bag with some cold packs to keep your insulin cool.
- Syringes (or other insulin delivery device). If you are using syringes, take at least the average number you would need for an entire day, preferably more.
- Keytone strips. You may only use these rarely while away from home but it’s always good to have them. The foil wrapped strips last longest.
- Glucagon emergency kit. Glucagon is used in emergencies when blood sugar drops so low that you are unconscious or can’t swallow. Learn how to use it, teach those closest to you how and when to use it and don’t leave home without it.
- Fast-acting glucose. You should always carry a small supply of fast-acting glucose with you at all times in case you have a low blood sugar reaction. Glucose tablets and glucose gels are available for this specific purpose. You can keep these in your purse, coat pocket, briefcase, or glucose testing kit.
- Medical identification. It is a good idea to wear some sort of identification that indicates to emergency personal that you have diabetes. If you are in an accident or found unconscious, this alerts medical personnel to address your diabetes needs immediately. The most common types of ID are bracelets and pendants.
- Health history. A health history can be extensive or basic but it is always wise to carry one with you. A basic history includes known conditions (including type 1 diabetes), allergies, medications you are taking (include vitamin and herbal supplements), emergency contact information, healthcare providers and their contact information. Update this information at least one each year.
This might sound like a lot of stuff to carry with you, but having these things on hand will give you peace of mind and allow you to be prepared should the unexpected occur. A number of products are designed to put all of these items in one place for easy portability.