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From Seattle, Washington, USA:

My 35 year-old new husband (Type 1, since age 5) is having trouble managing his sugars when we travel. He didn't travel much before we got married and doesn't have trouble at home. I travel a lot and want him to come with me. Is using a pump only when travelling a solution, i.e., for the 3-6 days we are away from home and in a new time zone? We've tried sticking to the old time, keeping up with the new time zone, monitoring sugars 6+ times a day, eating more frequently, less frequently, etc. and are really struggling. Help!


A pump may be very helpful, however not for just a few days at a time, as it takes some trial and error to set the correct rates, get used to the pump, etc. If a pump is not an option, then meet with a diabetes specialist who has experience in travel with diabetes. With guidance and experience, most people with diabetes should be able to travel without problems. Blood sugars are likely to be quite different while traveling, and close monitoring will help you respond appropriately. Insulin adjustment for time zones will be necessary. Also some people notice blood sugar changes for a few weeks when night and day have been reversed in their travel.


Additional Comments from Heather Valdes Speer, Research Coordinator and mother of a child with diabetes:

It possible to revert to the "poor man's pump" by using multiple injections of fast acting insulin, Regular or Humalog, with a basal rate of NPH or Lente while traveling. Give the long-acting insulin and enough short-acting insulin for breakfast in the morning and "bolus" with short acting insulin to match your food intake throughout the day. Then give long acting insulin for overnight. Some pump protocols suggest this multiple injection routine to simulate pump therapy before a patient goes on the pump.

We've traveled to Europe and Hawaii using this method with my daughter and it's worked very well. Then we don't have to worry about changing time zones and meal times. You may have to put up with a high blood sugar while coming and/or going between large time zones (9 hour difference between here and Europe) but you can get back on track very easily within a day.

Discuss these ideas with your diabetes team!


Original posting 21 Jul 1998
Additional comment added 5 Aug 1998
Posted to Traveling


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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