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Easing the Stress of Business Travel for People with Diabetes

Business travel can be an annoyance for anyone. If you suffer from diabetes, this can be an extra load of stress on what is likely already a stressful work situation. Business trips have many unpredictable factors that can affect your diabetes management plan and how you control your blood sugar on a day-to-day basis. Disruptions due to transportation delays, unplanned meals, long gaps between meals, environment, increased workplace stressors, and available personal time can all have an effect on your health. However, there are certain steps you can take to stick to your routine, feel prepared, reduce stress, and make sure you keep your blood glucose levels on track even while traveling.
Let People Know
You should always let your airline, flight attendants, colleagues, and business partners know that you have diabetes, so that they understand if you need to step away to test or eat a quick snack, or in case your blood sugar falls dangerously out of range and you need assistance. The more people around you are familiar with your condition, the more comfortable you can feel that you’ll be able to receive the specific care you need if you have a hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic episode.
Taking Precautions for Travel with Insulin
If you require insulin infusions to control your blood sugar, you may have to take special precautions when traveling for business. Contact the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and your airline before your trip to find out about the latest guidelines and requirements for those traveling with medications and medical supplies. It is usually recommended that all pharmaceuticals are properly labeled and bagged separately for screening at the airport. The airline may have extra tips for air travel and may be able to refrigerate your insulin if necessary.
Considering an Insulin Pump
If you travel regularly for work, it may be a good idea to consider switching to a rechargeable insulin pump to avoid the regular injections while traveling or in important business meetings. You can schedule regular basal doses to keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day, and easily administer bolus, or one-time, injections at meal times. This can take away some of the stress of preparing your insulin supplies and coordinating injections throughout the day, giving you more time to focus on tasks at work and be more present during your personal time at home. An added bonus is that there’s no need to remove the pump during security screenings; you can just let your TSA officer know and elect for a hand screening.
Staying in Control of Your Blood Sugar
Don’t forget to stay in control of your blood sugar even when busy. Make time to check your blood sugar levels regularly and make any necessary adjustments as recommended by your doctor. Changes in eating patterns, physical activity, and environment can send your blood glucose levels out of range quickly. Beware of time zone changes and consult with your doctor about the best way to adjust your schedule based on the length of your trip, location, and diet and physical activity while traveling.
Preparing for Dietary Changes
It may be necessary to take precautions involving your diet during travel. Keep an abundance of snacks handy and be vocal about planning meals ahead of time. Setting alarms on your phone for snacks and meals can also be a good reminder, help keep you on track, and prevent you from a dangerous hypoglycemic event.
Before You Go
Stress and anxiety associated with travel can often be eased by simply feeling like you’re prepared before you go. Try making a list of things you need to do before your trip: doctor’s appointments (to discuss any relevant concerns), anything you need to research (like current TSA requirements or airline policies), any specific items to prepare for the trip (a carry-on bag with labels for your insulin and snacks), and what to pack at least three to four days before departing. That way, you have plenty of time to get everything done and research any last-minute concerns without feeling rushed.
Speak to Your Doctor
If you have any questions about traveling with diabetes, speak to your doctor before you leave and make sure that your doctor is aware if your job requires that you travel frequently for work. He or she will be able to answer questions and provide additional tips or precautions to keep in mind.


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