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Advice for international travel?

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Jaedima, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. Jaedima

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    We're taking a weeklong international trip and want to make sure we're fully prepared for DS's medical needs, TSA requirements, and emergency healthcare arrangements. Can anyone point me to some up-to-date guidelines, packing lists, etc. that we can use to help prepare for our trip?

    (We're just going to Canada, so even though it's international, it's not quite so exotic and faraway as other possible destinations.)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    To Europe and Africa we have just packed 2-3x what we think we'll actually use. A loaner pump maybe 3 out of 10 trips. A simple letter from our endo stating that our dd has D and listing the items with which we will be traveling.

    We pack in 3 parts for big/long trips. Two complete kits in two separate packages with insulin. I like using large cosmetics bags - it's easy to see what you have) and pack insulin in small insulated bags with some gel packs that I can refreeze later). These go into one bag to get through security - I always just say, "This bag contains medical supplies" - they run it through the xray ( if I have a spare pump I take it out and ask them to please hand check it). Then when we are through security I separate the kits into two separate carry on bags. I also pack a full kit (sans insulin) in a checked bag - usually end up bringing that home untouched).

    It's important to bring batteries, emergency contact # for your endo and ped, basal rates if pumping and regular otc stuff which I always forget but often want. :rolleyes:

    Safe travels!
     
  3. MomofSweetOne

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    I asked a friend with medical and international experience some questions after a prior post about teens traveling abroad. I asked if I could post the reply here. Maybe some of it will be helpful to you or others.

    Should a parent let a teen with Type 1 go abroad without them? I think I would have to say "it depends."

    The teen's age and maturity: you can have a very immature, knowledgeable and unmotivated 17 year old while having a very mature, capable 14 year old who's demonstrated skill in managing her condition.

    Location of trip: If you were flying to London, you would know there are adequate hospitals nearby with English-speaking staff that could care well for your child. But if the trip is scheduled for a developing country where a different language is spoken, and the group is going out of the capital city into rural areas, I would NOT do it without a parent (maybe even with a parent, depending on how stable the teen is).

    At the very minimum, no matter what the destination abroad, one parent should have a current passport and visa to that country so they could get there quickly in the event of an emergency. They should also have medical evacuation insurance for their child to get him back to the U.S. for treatment if it's needed.

    Make sure that the child or chaperone has a phone with a SIM card that can make calls both within the country and to the U.S. Program all ICE numbers into it. Keep in mind emergency personnel in many countries will not speak English. Make sure you can get cell phone coverage to all areas the child will be traveling in.

    Register with that country's U.S. Embassy office of American Citizen Services with the dates the group will be in country (you can find the contact information on line). Explain to them the child's medical situation and ask what hospitals and doctors they recommend in the capital city and in any areas your teen will be visiting. Then program those names and numbers into your phone or your teen's phone (or the chaperone's). If there is an emergency, you can call the U.S. Embassy switchboard in the country and ask for the ACS duty officer who can advise you how to handle an emergency situation. Keep in mind they're not there to bail you out of the consequences of poor choices, but can advise and assist as appropriate.

    Another area of research beforehand: What is the ambulance service in that city/country? In many countries, it's poor or non-existent, or doesn't arrive until it's too late. Cabs and public transportation may be dangerous to ride in. I would want to make sure the group my teen was with had independent transportation and that the driver knew where the local hospitals were. This is most important in less-developed countries.

    Send ALL supplies that your teen will need -- insulin, test strips, batteries, chargers, syringes, etc. Then send plenty of extras for all of it in case of airport delays or other unforeseen extensions of the trip. Hand carry everything that you can't do without.

    It would be helpful to look into the types of foods the teen is likely to be eating in the country also and educate them on the healthiest choices. Our experience is that most countries add sugar to their prepared foods, so you can't even get jarred baby food or fruit juice without added sugar. The same may be true of restaurant foods.

    Send appropriate snacks that are allowed into the country your teen is visiting and the U.S. This is another area of research into that country's laws. The child shouldn't bring fresh fruits or vegetables or meats back into the U.S. But since they will need to carry snacks, make sure they are packaged, processed and long-life. We have never had problems with USDA upon re-entry when we declare our foods as "processed crackers" or "processed granola bars" or whatever. They're more interested in keeping out fresh meat, dairy or fresh agricultural products.

    Make sure you know the electrical system and prong style for that country, and that any electrical equipment works in that system (110 or 220). Keep in mind that the cycles are also important for some equipment (50 cycles vs. 60 cycles) and make sure your equipment will operate properly on that cycle. Send appropriately fitting outlet adapters.

    The key is definitely preparation, weighing the risks, and going in with your eyes wide open and ready for anything!

    These are things that come to my mind immediately. I hope this helps!
     
  4. Jaedima

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    Thanks for the suggestions-- they're quite helpful!

    I just thought of something else. What do you all do for carrying and disposing of sharps while traveling?
     
  5. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Our infusion sets come in a kit/inserter that can be reclosed - I fold the inserted needle down under a plastic bit, snap shut and throw out with regular trash. Same with the pokers we use - the old one gets recapped by the top from the new one and I feel ok throwing that out as well. She's doesn't have a communicable disease and someone would have to intentionally open them to get poked. :p Syringes I think I used to fold the needle over and recap and then just toss in a ziplock and dispose of at home. You could bring an empty, clean, hard plastic bottle like a detergent bottle and use that and just bring it back home in your luggage if your worried.
     
  6. Jaedima

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    I just didn't think we'd be allowed through security carrying a bottle of used sharps, even if it was tightly capped and in a medicine bag. I've occasionally seen sharps disposal containers in airport restrooms, but I wouldn't know in advance how/where to find them. We do have the BD safe-clip for insulin syringes, but it's not designed for lancets or for the large syringes we use to fill the pump.
     
  7. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    Doubt it would be noticed in checked luggage. :cwds:
     
  8. Beach bum

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    When we were on MDI, I got the tallest/fattest prescription bottle I could from our pharmacist. It fit the syringes perfectly and it has a lock top. I stored them in there and disposed of when I could, and then I just brought the rest home.
     
  9. Sarah Maddie's Mom

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    That's a good idea ;) Smaller and far more "official"
     
  10. Jeff

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  11. Jordansmom

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    I do the same thing for the little odds and ends emergency back ups I keep in my purse. Battery for pump, nickel to open battery compartment, roll of glucose tabs, airheads, syringe, hand wipes, bandaid, and her lactaid tablets. Then its all in one compact place, doesn't fall to the bottom of my purse, and doesn't get abused or lost while I'm actually using my purse. The nickel seems like overkill, but we have been out with a dead battery and a new battery with nothing to open the battery compartment. Frustrating.
     
  12. NomadIvy

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    Sounds like our kind of packing. ALways two complete kits in two separate packs that go in separate hand carry bags. To top it off, I have a "mini" kit in my purse that includes two set changes, etc. However, we pack the insulin in its separate case w/ ice/gel packs.

    I traveled last week for the first time without ~K, and I felt like I was traveling extremely light.
     
  13. NomadIvy

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    Nail? Works for the MM. ;)
     
  14. Jaedima

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    Thanks for all the useful tips! I also just got reminded to bring the actual prescription labels for everything.
     

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