Traveling to Mexio for Humanitarian Trip
Hi everyone, I’m 16 and am planning on going on a humanitarian trip to a rural part of Mexico this summer. I have never traveled out of the country with diabetes before and I am worried about it. My parents are wondering if they need to make special arrangements to accompany me because they are worried about what would happen in the case of an emergency since there is no medical care and if I should even go. I am currently planning on packing twice as many supplies, bringing medication in case of nausea, working out a system with one of the adults who is coming so that they are aware of my diabetes, working out a system to contact my parents everyday, bringing my pump and cgm, and planning for weird trends to in my blood sugar since my schedule will be off and we will be doing hard labor some of the days. Have any of you traveled to a third world country and have any tips? Do you think this is doable for a 16 year old who has never been to a third world country?
Yes! It’s doable!
It sounds like you’re putting all the things in place to make this trip a success. I’d also suggest:
-Get a cooling pouch (like a FRIO) to store you insulin and keep it cool.
-Bring tons of glucose tabs or something similar to raise your blood sugar (they’ll be hard to purchase in Mexico)
-Try to find out if they sell your insulin brand in Mexico, just in case
I spent the last year traveling through mostly third-world countries with T1D and my A1C has maintained a good range, without any lows that required a doctor. It’s totally possible, and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have. I’ve also been blogging about my travels at http://www.diabetictraveler.org, if any of that info helps.
Good luck packing!
when I travel for work – 2 things I try to do is check “Alerts and Warnings” with US passports and international travel. The link is here https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html
next I check with my doctor or the company doctor. They are always conservative so I usually get boosters for things like Polio, tetanus and if it is a high risk area, Hep A and Hep B vaccines. Typhoid may also a threat, as may be Malaria, I just got back from Rural India, and I had some antibiotics with me in case I got a stomach bug from bad water, as well as Malaria pills and military strength mosquito repellent. The likelihood is that you will come in contact with unfriendly organisms in the water, esp in rural mexico, i’d say almost for sure. So one real threat is dehydration that could put you in the hospital. IMO you need a plan for clean water for your stay, even if your plan is to boil *everything*.
I travel quite a bit and work in remote areas, India was a stretch so was China, I lived, some of it was actually fun, so I would say it is “doable”.
It sounds like you’ve done a lot of prep work! Good on ya!
My son has a pump, and I’m always concerned about pump failure. Our backup plan is Lantus while we’re waiting for a replacement pump. I have heard, though, that some pump companies will loan you a pump while you’re traveling. It might be worth checking into.
Have a great trip!
It is definitely do-able!! You’re taking all of the right steps. I like to remind myself the mantra of “one is none and two is one,” in terms of packing backup supplies, insulin, and treatment for lows. For the hard manual labor, familiarize yourself with the “temporary basal rate” feature on your pump before you go, if you’re not already familiar, and use it on the days where you will be working very hard. This will help you avoid lows and avoid having to consume extra glucose to treat the low. Also, I second the suggestion of contacting your pump company to tell them you will be traveling and asking for a “loaner pump.” Most of the pump companies, to my knowledge, will provide you with one.
When I have traveled to Latin America, the diabetes was rarely an issue UNTIL I became very dehydrated. THEN, it did cause me a bit of a problem on one trip. So I would advise you to drink lots of BOTTLED water, be aware of altitude sickness if you’re changing elevations, and consciously work to avoid dehydration.
Good luck and have fun!!