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Italy with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes

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Jun 1st, 2013, 12:16 AM
  #1
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Italy with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes

My husband has recently (last week) been given a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes after being quite ill, and now takes insulin. In 6 weeks we are travelling to finale Ligura on the Italian coast and would appreciate any tips or advice on foods pharmacies etc that anyone has for travelling. thanks very much
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Jun 1st, 2013, 03:12 AM
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My main advice to a recent insulin taker would be to calculate that all the walking you will be doing will drop your blood sugar more than you might be used to, so judge accordingly and ALWAYS carry snacks or small orange juice ( in those mini non-refriegerated cartons they have) with you.

I travel with my insulin-dependent Mom and she always has more low blood sugars when with me because she doesn't readjust her insulin accordingly until she realizes the effect exercise has on her. She is usually quite sedentary.. which goes to show that exercise and correct foods can really keep this disease at bay for most.
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Jun 1st, 2013, 03:39 AM
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What does his doctor say?

Good advice from lincasanova but some people have greater difficulty than establishing themselves on insulin than others. As you know, different people require different amounts and means of administration, and only your husband and his doctor will know how he is doing. You may not have the information you need until a lot closer to the time you will be going. What if you could not go?

In addition to exercise, heat and stress will affect his sugars. It will be hot, unless you live in some place like Australia or Arizona. make sure your accommodation is air conditioned. Should you reduce stress by not driving or reducing the number of places you try to visit?

My understanding is that a person whose diabetes is well regulated by insulin can eat anything he wants as long as he tests before and after eating, but here again, I would rely on the doctor rather than the Internet.
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Jun 1st, 2013, 04:44 AM
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>>>which goes to show that exercise and correct foods can really keep this disease at bay for most.<<<

You might be able to keep type 2 at bay with that, but type 1 is an autoimmune disease. Type 1 (fka juvenile diabetes) requires insulin and is not caused by inactivity/weight.

The last time I traveled with a type 1 diabetic in Italy, she carried pre-loaded insulin syringes in a cool pack. She had been type 1 for years so was more familiar with adjusting her insulin for activity.

She did have a problem with a blister on her foot which can be a big problem for diabetics (extremities don't heal easily). Luckily my daughter had a pair of flip flops that fit her which she ended up having to wear most of the time. Shoes should be ones that are already well broken in. There are blister sticks you can buy that helps prevent blisters and carry some mole skin (the thinner type is better).

Most pharmacies in Europe are denoted by a green neon cross. In larger cities, there is always one open which can rotate among them. If you need one at an odd time, you will have to inquire which one (there is usually a schedule).
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Jun 1st, 2013, 05:27 AM
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To prevent blisters, I recommend thorlo socks. They are a bit expensive, but worth every penny. Until I started wearing them, I always got blisters when traveling. Now my feet stay trouble free. I like the heavily padded socks personally.
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Jun 1st, 2013, 05:49 AM
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Recently traveled to Italy with my brother, a long-time Type I diabetic on an insulin pump. Although he is very active at home, the extra miles walking in Italy did mean he had to pay more attention to sugar levels. He carried energy bars and other items for long walks.

You might try to translate some phrases you might need in advance into Italian and have them on hand should you need them. For instance, long-term diabetes does play have with other organs and systems of the body, so that he did have some digestive problems in Italy and had to go into a pharmacy for help.

Also, he had trouble getting glucose tablets in Italian pharmacies. I think they may call them "energy tablets" but I am not sure.
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Jun 1st, 2013, 05:54 AM
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You might find the following link helpful. There is a number in there for English speaking doctors in foreign countries, should the need arise.

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-...ou-travel.html
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Jun 1st, 2013, 08:51 AM
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You're right.. sorry.. my mom is type 2.. and perhaps whatever I said may only apply to those people or.. just my mom.. I don't know!
lincasanova is online now  
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Jun 1st, 2013, 02:26 PM
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kybourbon helpfully mentioned that a friend used a coolpack to store insulin. I'm type 1 and use a Frio wallet to keep my insulin at the correct temperature when travelling. It’s never let me down and all you need is cold water. No ice required.

Details are here: http://www.frioinsulincoolingcase.com/

You or your partner may know this already but insulin and essentials should be carried in hand luggage and not checked into the aircraft’s hold. Years ago my doc told me to take a note of the medical name of my insulin rather that what it is known as in the USA because it may be available in Europe under a different name. Never needed to use that bit of advice and it may not be relevant these days.

Twice in Italy I’d to go to a pharmacy for help relating to my diabetes. I always carry a spare insulin pen but just after arriving at the hotel in Naples and when unpacking I noticed it was damaged. The very first pharmacy I visited didn’t have one but they contacted another who did! I also remember one time looking to replace some glucose gel I carry in case of a hypo. Again, not a problem. I’ve always found pharmacy staff incredibly helpful when in Europe.

I hope you both have a great trip

joe
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Jun 2nd, 2013, 01:58 AM
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Make sure you know what to do if your husband has a problem. It is vital you recognise the signs of a hypo, and what to do. Your husband may not realise what is happening.
My DIL is type 1 and travels happily, however we all know what to do if she is having a problem.

Check with his doctor, and maybe a diabetic nurse, who can teach you as well as your husband.
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Jun 2nd, 2013, 12:39 PM
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I'll second the Frio cooling products to keep insulin cool.

I have found carrying insulin and 1/2 CC syringes in a hard eyeglass/sunglasses container works well. It is unobtrusive when at a restaurant, can fit in a fanny pack or pocket and is user-friendly when excusing yourself to go to the toilet or even taking insulin at a table. I also carry a couple of glucose tablets in it.

I am 35+ years type 1 diabetic and have traveled with it from Southern Africa to Mongolia to Russia to Tasmania to the Peruvian Amazon...

The biggest challenge has always been adjusting for time change during and after flight...this takes some practice... Anyone else have suggestions about how you deal with this part of traveling with diabetes?

Biggest advice for you is to insist that he sip sugared soda, etc., if you find him not reacting normally...over the years I have had a few "lows" which cause your brain to not think straight, almost zombie-like. Whenever I declined to eat anything my wife made sure I did -- toast with honey, OJ, granola bar, etc and then WAIT for 15 minutes -- you don't come out of it immediately.

I wear Wright double layered socks to prevent blisters. I do a lot of hiking, jogging, etc., in them and have never had a blister. Just do an Internet search for Wright Socks. They are expensive (about $8-12 per pair) but last for years.
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Jun 3rd, 2013, 07:11 AM
  #12
 
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No first-hand knowledge but I saw an ad on TV for insulin package that doesn't have to be refrigerated.

Know you've checked with doc and just want some info from people who've coped with this so good luck and have a great trip.
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