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July 21, 2004

Insulin Pumps, Traveling

Question from California, USA:

I have had diabetes for 30 years, excellent health, and have been on the pump for two years. I am going backpacking next week (four days). I have not gone since getting a pump. Are there any special precautions I should take? I am fairly small/thin. My MiniMed pump trainer suggested I use the Silhouette infusion set, a 35 degree canula, and only use it in 20 sites across the front of my abdomen, above the belt line. However, this is where my backpack waist belt rides. Are there alternative configurations for the Silhouette for lean adults? I need an alternative/backup plan.

Answer:

I believe it is reasonable for you to find an alternative infusion site before leaving on your trip. You can try one on the flank. Try it at home first and demonstrate to yourself that it works. If you can do this and avoid the rubbing, you are better off. The big issue I am concerned about is your supply of insulin. If you are going to be in a remote area, make sure you pack extra insulin. I would try to get one of the insulated insulin carriers that are commercially available. Remember that when all else fails, you can still inject insulin. That would also mean having syringes to take. Finally, with all that extra exercise, monitor your sugars to make sure you avoid hypoglycemia. Make sure to take a supply of glucose with you at all times. Have a wonderful trip!

JTL