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From Athol, Massachusetts, USA:

I'm 16 years old and would like to go on a trip to Spain and Portugal with my high school next year. What precautions would I have to take to bring syringes into a foreign country? Any information on traveling long distances without parental supervision would be greatly appreciated.


I presume there will be adult supervision on this trip. Spain and Portugal have all the care of home, so that isn't an issue. You can travel with all your supplies and have prescriptions for all of them. You will need, and I expect, everyone will have signed consents, to treat in case of emergency. You should consult someone about the time differences in the travel and the adjustments of treatment. Do be careful -- it is hard to be in a hospital where no one speaks English.


Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

Going to Spain and Portugal with school isn't a major problem, but, like everything else with diabetes you need to be prepared. You should talk to your diabetes team and get their ideas.

We have lots of kids in our practice who travel like this all the time. Doing frequent blood glucose tests, keeping excellent logbooks and planning for the time zone changes re: food and insulin are not so difficult. You should also be sure to wear a medic-alert identification necklace or bracelet for any emergencies and have double the supplies you usually need for the time you will be traveling. One of your friends should volunteer to carry this during the trip so that if anything is lost or stolen, you have a second supply. Both countries will have easy access to insulin, syringes and blood glucose testing. Lastly, you should have the names of diabetes doctors in the countries you will be visiting for any unexpected medical problems. All the big cities will have big medical schools, emergency rooms etc.


Additional comments from Dr. Jim Lane:

I would suggest you do a little homework before you go. First, check with the State Department and see what precautions you need to take before traveling into a foreign country. Specifically, you can check to see if a physician's note should accompany you on your trip. I do not think this will be much of a problem in Europe. However, it never hurts to check as these questions are readily answered. I would find an adult who is chaparoning you and let them know you have diabetes and what your specific problems will be. These will include monitoring, regular eating and snacking, and the need to frequently take insulin, especially while traveling across to Europe on those long travel days. Be sure to prepare to bring enough insulin, syringes, test strips, and your meter. I would also recommend glucagon. A spare meter and insulin would be a good idea. If you are staying with a host, see if the host has any resources or suggestions. These are common problems but can be overcome with a little preparation.


[Editor's comment: See: Traveling with Diabetes, and Your Traveling Medical Record (at the Diabetes Monitor). SS]

Original posting 5 Jul 2001
Posted to Traveling


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:22
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