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Travel with Diabetes 101: Managing Low Blood Sugar

I have a bad track record with low blood sugar.  This is a very personal and complex issue for me, and I believe it is the most important aspect to take into consideration with T1D travel.  All diabetics have experienced the pitfalls of what Jaime refers to as “low bloods”; and unfortunately I am no stranger to its negative effects.  It is particularly dangerous to get low blood sugar while asleep, and on one occasion I woke up naked and surrounded by firefighters performing various resuscitation tactics on me.  I remember one of them asking me a question: “What month is it?”  I had no idea.  I was probably busy trying to piece together the events that ended with me covered in sweat and seizing uncontrollably on my bathroom floor with an audience of several large men.  Needless to say, going low can certainly ruin an evening out, so it helps to be prepared and take an emergency sugar source with you… just in case.  I used to carry candy everywhere, but unwrapping all those little morsels can be confusing and takes too long in an emergency.  Don’t let those firemen find you unconscious with an unopened package of Starburst in your hand!  I am a huge fan of juice, as it is the simplest and fastest method to get some sugar in you!  Ready for a shameless product plug?  Here it is: Ribena.

Travel with Diabetes 101: Managing Low Blood Sugar | The Alternative Atlas

It is available everywhere in the UK and it’s delicious and really cheap.  I have only been traveling for one month and I have already bought 6 or 7 of these.  My favorite flavor is blackcurrant.  Literally every corner store and grocery store sells it, and the company prints the price right on the bottle so nobody can rip off us naive Americans!  There is about 35 grams of sugar in 250mL, and each bottle is 500mL, so there is around 70 grams of sugar in each bottle.

Travel with Diabetes 101: Managing Low Blood Sugar | The Alternative Atlas

Personally I’m not a fan of energy drinks but Lucozade is very popular and also available everywhere in the UK.  I drank two of them in a pinch while camping at metal music festival TechFest in the English countryside.  The slogan on the bottle is: Powered by Glucose!  How can you go wrong?  The slogan should say: Perfect Cure for Hypoglycemia AND Sleepiness!

Travel with Diabetes 101: Managing Low Blood Sugar | The Alternative Atlas

Ribena also comes in small juice-box sized containers.  I love these: they fit perfectly in your back pocket.  These little boxes have 30 grams of sugar… the perfect amount if I am a little low and need to get back in the 100-120 mg/dL range.  Every diabetic should carry one of these little guys while going out.

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