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From Canton, Ohio, USA:

My son, age 14, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes four months ago and is still in the honeymoon stage. He is considering hiking down the Grand Canyon with relatives. It will involve about 5 days with possible 100+ degree temperatures. The only way out is the 13 mile trail or emergency helicopter. There is shade and water at the campsite at the bottom. He is extremely responsible, has educated himself about diabetes and would like to go. A parents, we are concerned about the obvious risks, primarily about keeping the insulin from going bad in the heat. Any suggestions?


To deal primarily with your main concern, I would suggest a DIA-PAK (1-800-433-2469) or similar product for keeping insulin cool on the way down the canyon. You could call the Ranger station to see if there is any chance of refrigeration down by the river. If there is not, he could take the kind of plastic bag they use for newspapers and keep the insulin cool in the river and it would surely last until the end of the hike up.

Take plenty of trail mix for snacks and of course lots of water. There is now a backpack that incorporates a water source.

Your son might want to see if cell phones work in the canyon. You will need to work out with his doctor just how much to reduce his daily insulin dose for the hike up especially. It could be as much as 50% so perhaps some sort of trial run might be a good idea.


Original posting 26 Apr 2000
Posted to Exercise and Sports


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:10
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