October 15, 2000
Question from the United Kingdom:
I’m an 18 year old girl who would love to go to Australia for a month after I finish my A Levels. Although I know that it is a civilized country, I also know that I will want to visit the outback which can be very remote. Is there any advice you can give me on how to prepare and take my insulin? How is it possible to get insulin from pharmacies there?
As I remember A levels take place at the end of this year to decide on University plans for next September, so you will probably be thinking of going to Australia in early summer next year (early winter in Australia). There are several things that you can begin planning now:
Find out about flights and whether you will go via Singapore or the US west coast. Then start to work out with your doctor how to adapt the insulin schedule to the time changes.
I’d suggest taking all needed supplies with you; but when you ask Australia House in London about a visa you can find out whether you need a prescription if you have to get extra insulin. The management of diabetes in Australia is very much the same as in Britain. Ask too whether you should get Health Insurance and whether having diabetes might affect this,
You would be wise to know how to get medical backup if you should get sick. If you are staying with friends or a family and they have a family doctor that would be all you need.
We could give more specific help if we had some more details of your itinerary and whether you would be going in a group, with a friend or by yourself. And it would also help if you could say more exactly what you planned for the ‘outback’ e.g. Visiting a remote sheep station, helping Crocodile Dundee or more quietly doing a few days camping or orienteering.
It sounds like a great adventure, good luck.
Additional comments from Dr. Larry Deeb:
Australia is at least as civilized as the UK. No trouble with anything related to diabetes. It can be hot, so protect the insulin, but there is plenty available.