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From Northridge, California, USA:

I am a type 1 diabetic, age 55, taking 4 shots a day (Humalog/Regular before breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and NPH before bedtime). I am going on two brief trips to Washington DC soon, one 2-day and one 3-day. Can someone please advise me on how I should factor in the time change when taking my shots and meals?


Fortunately for you, you are on an excellent regimen for traveling. Your Regular or Humalog that you take before meals can be taken a little early or a little late (up to 2 hours) without making too much difference in your coverage.

What you need to do is to make sure you are in charge of your own food. You can call your airline and they can tell you if there is a meal service on your flight and even the approximate time it will be served, but I wouldn't count on it! For one thing, the food isn't that good and another thing, you could end up getting delayed or put on another flight with no food. The one good thing about airlines' lack of food is that airports have improved the choices and quality of food they have available.

But I still believe every person with diabetes should take their own food on the plane with them. That way you can be in charge of your own food and schedule. If you know you are getting into your travel destination in mid-afternoon and you want to go to a fancy dinner in the evening, maybe scheduled later than your usual meal time, you can take a small amount of Humalog with a snack at 3-4 P.M. and then wait until 8:00 P.M. for dinner and take your Humalog/Regular dose then. You can take your NPH at your bedtime, even if it is 2 hours different than your usual bedtime.

Your regimen is perfect for having flexibility for changing schedules, except that you need to be sure you have some insulin every 4-5 hours during the day so that you have your "basal insulin" requirement covered. That is the "baseline" amount of insulin you need throughout the day to keep everything balanced. You may want to check out the new Humalog pen, just released in the last few weeks. It is a 300 unit disposable pen you can carry in your purse and you can dial up your exact dose and give it discreetly. When the 300 units is gone, you simply throw it away.


Original posting 12 Apr 1999
Posted to Traveling


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:02
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