Contributed by- Dr. Snehal Singh
Don’t you just love holidays? Holidays mean planning, packing, travelling, shopping, exploring and so much more. With the approaching school holidays excitement is at it’s peak. Be it weekend outings or a long vacation plan, holidays are just splendid. Holidays are truly time to rejoice, rejuvenate, celebrate and have unlimited fun with family and friends. It is the time of the year when you forget all worries and just relax.
Do you have diabetes? Does that mean you cannot go on a vacation?
Absolutely not! You can enjoy your vacation just as much, if you plan ahead to take care of your diabetes. Just make a promise to yourself to avoid over indulgence and not to forget about your diabetes. Diabetes management works well when you stick to your routine. So, as you prepare for your holiday also plan for your diabetes care.
Here are some sweet holiday tips for diabetes:
It is necessary to plan your vacation ahead of time and focus more on the planning. As a diabetic, it is necessary that you choose the vacation destination properly. This is mainly because you need to have proper balance of activity, rest and relaxation as well.
It is best to consult your physician beforehand and be assured about your diabetic medications and dosages. It is also better to have blood tests done for diabetes control, as advised and consider it when planning. Choose and plan a vacation that includes fun yet healthy activities which are closer to your everyday routine. Try not to have drastic changes. Fatigue is a major concern often experienced by diabetics, so asses your health status and plan your activities accordingly.
Carry your medical kit
Diabetes affects each person in a different way. So you will have your own set of medicines and medical advice. Make sure you carry your medicines with you and some extra doses to be on safe side. If your insulin needs to be kept cool, use a cold pack and follow the instructions.
You may also need to monitor your blood glucose from time to time, so carry your glucometer and related stuff. And yes, keep all medicines and supplies handy. It is a good idea to have your prescription paper with you or note down the list of medicines and their doses. It can be used as a reference by you or your companions, if needed. Also, if you are travelling to other countries, you also need to check the documentation norms regarding carrying medicines and medical prescription.
A little precaution never hurts anybody. So do not fall prey to diabetes during vacations, rather stay a step ahead with proper preparations.
While you are doing your best in planning and carrying all medicines, be prepared for any unpleasant event. Low blood sugar is a common in diabetics, especially when travelling or during vacation due to changes in food, medicines and activity levels. Low blood glucose or hypoglycaemia usually presents with symptoms like unexplained fatigue, dizziness, sweating, headache, trouble concentrating and even unconsciousness or coma. For milder symptoms, simple sugars in the form of sugar, glucose tablets or honey can be given, while severe symptoms or coma may need emergency medical treatment. So, make sure you carry glucose tablets and share contacts of emergency medical services with your companions too.
It is always fun to explore the local cuisine and new dishes during vacations. But it is also important to remember that food plays an important role in managing diabetes, whether at home or on a vacation. Plan a healthy vacation diet, considering your diabetes medications or insulin doses. Whether you have medicines around breakfast, lunch or dinner, make sure you have carbs during those meals. As medicines are meant to lower your blood sugar, your meals must provide you with the necessary sugar.
You can choose to check your blood sugar before and after meal to know how food impacts your sugar levels. It is also necessary to follow the below mentioned steps:
- Do not skip your meals, it will do more harm than good
- It is best to choose complex carbs, whole grains, lean meat, veggies and some fruits to have a balanced yet power packed diet
- Also, beware of and stay away from foods that you do not tolerate well
- Most important, drink plenty of water, throughout the day. You may be more active when on a vacation and considering weather changes and routine, and other things, staying hydrated is absolutely necessary
Play safe to stay safe
Vacation is all about enjoying and feeling light. You can surely plan an active vacation, with all the necessary care and preparation. You may want to go for adventure sports, water sports, trekking or simply nature walks. As long as you plan to stay active within your limits, it should be fine.
Considering your health and any other health problems like injuries, joint or muscle pain, etc. it is best to consult your physician while planning your activities. You need to also
- make sure that you do not overexert yourself, wear proper sports gear and follow safety guidelines of the concerned activity or sport
- consider other activities like sightseeing, walking for long hours, shopping, etc. and then chalk your leisure activity plan accordingly, to avoid getting fatigued
The best thing that comes after you have indulged in other things, is the rest part. This is the most pleasurable and an equally important thing. Know your rest times and stick close to your routine, as some may need to rest more often than others. However, as good night’s sleep is important for all, make sure you have your daily dose of sleep. Do not forget to get proper rest during vacations.
These are simple yet effective tips to manage diabetes when on vacation. It is important to have a good plan so that your diabetes management remains unaffected. This will not only keep you healthy and happy during the vacation but also ensure good health after you are back.
Vacations are time for relaxation and rejuvenation; you need not miss out the fun if you have diabetes. Plan smartly and just enjoy yourself.
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