Hello everyone, I'm a type 1 and have been for twenty years and I now how an opportunity to travel to Europe. I will be abroad for a 9 month trip and this will be the first time I have gone abroad. How easy is it getting insulin for a 9 month trip? I have 3 months before I go so I have time to sort all of this out but I'm not sure where to start. Has anyone traveled to Europe who is diabetic? I have so many things to figure out like time zones, changing my insulin times and amounts and diet. I'm thinking about all the different foods and customs. It would help me if I could hear what another person did on their travels and how they planned everything. Thanks.
Hi, I went to Europe last year and spent 6 months with some relatives I didn't know I had. I'm a type 2 and I take insulin. In my travels, I was able to see France, Germany, England and Italy. First off, my doctor helped me plan by giving me pamphlets to read and I copied schedule sheets from the computer. I was able to plan ahead of time for the first two months and then from there I planned from what I had learned in the first two months. That really made it simple. You should be able to get all the insulin you need before you leave (just ask your doctor) and as far as carrying it over, it doesn't have to be refrigerated. So no problem there. You may need to carry a prescription with you in case you lose supplies and need more and again your doctor can help you with that. You should know how to get medical care in your unfamiliar surroundings and I'll give that info at the end.
The list of what you need to take with is relatively simple. You should have sufficient insulin to last you your whole trip plus some extra. The reason for this is because insulin bought overseas may have different potencies and for animal insulin it could come from another species. It is best if you divide up your insulin supply between carry-on bags and checked in case a bag is lost. Oh, make sure to keep a bottle of regular insulin with you even if you don't use it normally. You may need this if you become ill for example, with the flu.
You should have enough syringes that will cover you for the whole trip and these should be U-100. These are standard here but not necessarily in Europe. A number of countries use U-40 and U-80. You shouldn't have any problem coming from the U.S. With custom inspectors if you have a identification tag. Make sure you have sugar tabs/candies and a bottle of glucagon or glucagon kit for emergencies. Of course you'll need your monitor and test strips. You'll need to have all the test strips you will use on the trip (9 months). Strips bought in Europe may have different reading units.
About obtaining medical assistance overseas: Contact the International Association of Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT): 417 Center St., Lewiston, NY 14092: (716) 754-4883.
This will provide you with the names of English-speaking doctors practicing in foreign countries who can help you in case of an emergency. You can also contact a local United States Embassy (IAMAT Web page. If need be, emergency aid is generally best obtained at the emergency room of a university hospital.