From never wearing brand new shoes for a trip, to travelling with flash cards to navigate language barrier, managing meals when crossing time zones, storage of insulin and how to minimise glucose fluctuation — all of these are part of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) pre-travel advice for children and adolescents living with Type-1 diabetes. This is the country’s first-ever list of basic dos and don’ts to ensure the safety of Type-1 patients during travel.
India has the highest number of incident and prevalent cases of Type-1 diabetes in the world as per recent estimates from the International Diabetes Federation, and the Council has now published a comprehensive document providing advice on care of diabetes in children, adolescents and adults with Type-1 diabetes.
Type-I diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. It typically appears in adolescence and symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue and blurred vision.
The new 173-page ICMR guideline document states that individuals with Type-1 diabetes need support to survive, using insulin and other therapies, and to live their entire life without stigma, restrictions, or disabling complications due to their illness.
The Council has suggested that patients should inform the physician in advance, preferably four to six weeks before the planned travel, and should have medications and blood testing materials for the whole trip plus reserve supplies for at least two to four weeks if unforeseen circumstances extend the travel.
They also advise carrying comfortable shoes and socks to avoid straining the feet while on travel. “Alternating between two pairs of shoes can decrease the risk of blisters and calluses. New shoes, if purchased, should be used for at least two to three weeks before travel. Patients with a medical identification bracelet should have information on the disease, use of insulin, and disclose any allergies,” the council said.