By Raven Jordan
April is only the beginning of spring and summer travel season, just in time for a vacation away from the constant flow of work. But don’t forget about your health while you’re away.
During those anticipated vacations, it’s important to plan for possible medical needs, just in case.
Healthy packing can include prescription medicines, medical supplies, supplies to prevent illness or injury, first aid kits and insurance documents, according to the CDC.
Dr. Uma Gunasekaran, an endocrinologist and lead physician of Parkland Health’s Outpatient Diabetes Clinic, discussed how travelers should prepare with diabetes and other health concerns in mind while traveling.
When a person has diabetes, they’ll need to take all of their testing supplies with them on their trip.
“That means your glucose meter, your strips and everything that goes with it to be able to check your blood sugar so you know what’s going on with your diabetes,” Gunasekaran says. “You want to make sure that you pack enough medication to take with you, whether that’s pills, insulin, insulin supplies, like syringes and things like that, or other medications that you take and any supplies that are associated with them.”
Travelers can also keep track of their supplies and medications if they’re kept in the original packaging they were prescribed in, so there’s no confusion.
“It’s also helpful in case something happens when you’re on vacation, you lose your medication or something breaks and you need to get an urgent refill having all of that information with your pharmacy information because it also has the pharmacy phone number on the original label. So you can call to see what you can do to get assistance.”
A general travel health kit could be as simple as a first aid kit with band-aids and gauze or something more specific to chronic health conditions, like asthma.
Travel health kits for more chronic conditions and allergic reactions should include prescribed medications.
“For diabetes, that’s things like glucose tablets or glucose gel, in case you have low blood sugar, you’ll immediately have your treatment with you,” she says. “If you have other medical conditions like asthma, or severe allergic reactions, you’ll need your EpiPen, your inhalers and things like that.”
Insurance documents, like health insurance cards or pharmacy cards, are also important to have on hand when traveling. Other information that may be useful when traveling and something medical comes up is knowing where a local urgent care and local pharmacy are located.
“Some people think that they can take a vacation from their medications, that can put them into some extremely dangerous situations in a place where you’re not even familiar with how to get doctors’ help or where things are located,” she says.“So you want to try to maintain a sort of similar lifestyle to what you do at home when you go on vacation.”
More information and resources about travel health kits and health travel advice on the CDC travel website.