Summer is here, and so is vacation season. If you have diabetes, make plans to manage your disease while traveling so you can stay healthy and enjoy your trip.

Getting out of the routine is part of the fun of traveling. But if you have diabetes, there’s one routine you need to take with you: your care routine.

Meals away from home, time zone changes, summer heat and poor air quality can all affect how well you manage diabetes. Before you hit the road, review these tips for taking care of yourself. If you’re not traveling this summer, you’ll still find helpful advice here for coping with hot weather and high levels of air pollution, which can be harmful to people living with diabetes.

High Heat

Hot weather temperatures of 80 degrees or above, especially with humidity  can affect medication, testing supplies and your health. If you have diabetes, it is harder for your body to handle high heat and humidity. The heat index, which measures how hot it really feels by combining temperature and humidity readings, advises caution starting at 80 F with 40% humidity.
Heat can affect your blood glucose (sugar) levels and also increase the absorption of some fast-acting insulin, meaning you will need to test your blood glucose more often and perhaps adjust your intake of insulin, food and liquids.
Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to avoid dehydration. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages such as sweet tea and sodas.
If your doctor has limited how much liquid you can drink, ask what to do during times of high heat.

Check package inserts with medications to learn when high temperatures can affect them. Take medications with you if you will need to take them while you’re away from home, and protect them from the heat.
If you’re traveling with insulin, don’t store it in direct sunlight or in a hot car. Keep it in a cooler, but do not place it directly on ice or on a gel pack.
Check glucose meter and test strip packages for information on use during times of high heat and humidity. Do not leave them in a hot car, by a pool or on the beach.
Heat can damage insulin pumps and other equipment. Do not leave the disconnected pump or supplies in the direct sun.
Get physical activity in air-conditioned areas, or exercise outside early or late in the day, during cooler temperatures.
Use your air conditioner or go to air-conditioned buildings in your community.

Poor Air Quality

Exposure to air pollution can harm people with diabetes, including increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke. To find out if you need to change your routine, check the Air Quality Index forecast to learn if the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups, which includes people living with diabetes, especially if they have heart disease or breathing problems such as asthma. If the index is between 101 and 150, the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups. If the index is 151 or higher, health effects may be more serious.
Avoid exercising outdoors on days with unhealthy air quality. Get physical activity in an air-conditioned space.
Limit physical activity near busy roads to reduce exposure to air pollution.

Don’t Forget Your Medication
Pack twice the amount of diabetes supplies you expect to need, in case of travel delays.
Keep snacks, glucose gel, or tablets with you in case your blood glucose drops.
Make sure you keep your medical insurance card and emergency phone numbers handy, including your doctor’s name and phone number.
Carry medical identification that says you have diabetes.
Keep time zone changes in mind so you’ll know when to take medication.
If you use insulin, make sure you also pack a glucagon emergency kit.
Have all syringes and insulin delivery systems (including vials of insulin) clearly marked with the pharmaceutical preprinted label that identifies the medications. Keep it in the original pharmacy labeled packaging.
Find out where to get medical care if needed when away from home.
Take copies of prescriptions with you.

On the Road
Reduce your risk for blood clots by moving around every hour or two.
Pack a small cooler of foods that may be difficult to find while traveling, such as fresh fruit, sliced raw vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat yogurt.
â|Bring a few bottles of water instead of sugar-sweetened soda or juice.
Pack dried fruit, nuts, and seeds as snacks. Since these foods can be high in calories, measure out small portions in advance.

In the Air
If you’re flying and do not want to walk through the metal detector with your insulin pump, tell a security officer that you are wearing an insulin pump and ask them to visually inspect the pump and do a full-body pat-down.
Place all diabetes supplies in carry-on luggage. Keep medications and snacks at your seat for easy access. Don’t store them in overhead bins or checked luggage.
If a meal will be served during your flight, call ahead for a diabetic, low fat, or low cholesterol meal. Wait until your food is about to be served before you take your insulin.
If the airline doesn’t offer a meal, bring a nutritious meal yourself.
Make sure to pack snacks in case of flight delays.
When drawing up your dose of insulin, don’t inject air into the bottle (the air on your plane will probably be pressurized).
Reduce your risk for blood clots by moving around every hour or two.

Staying Healthy
Changes in what you eat, activity levels and time zones can affect your blood glucose. Check levels often. Talk with your doctor before increasing physical activity, such as going on a trip that will involve more walking.
Stick with your exercise routine. Make sure to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
Wash hands often with soap and water.
Protect your feet. Be especially careful of hot pavement by pools and hot sand on beaches. Never go barefoot.
Make sure you are up-to-date on immunizations.