Living with diabetes can present a variety of challenges. Having your diabetes supplies available at all times makes it easier to maintain your blood sugar levels. A diabetes bag makes it easy to have all of your diabetes accessories and supplies in one convenient place. Learning about the bags that are available and what to put in them helps to ensure that you are always able to manage your diabetes no matter where you are.
WHAT TYPES OF BAGS ARE AVAILABLE?
There are several bag options to carry your diabetes supplies. If you want to carry your supplies hands-free, consider one that is in the style of a backpack or a fanny pack. These should zip up so that none of your supplies fall out when you are moving around. If you carry a handbag, consider one that will fit inside to minimize how many bags you have to carry with you.
You might also consider a hard case, especially if your insulin comes in a glass vial. A hard case will protect the vials against breakage if you accidentally drop it. These usually snap shut so that the contents remain secure. Some hard cases will be divided into different compartments, allowing you to organize your supplies in a way that allows you to access everything quickly.
These bags come in multiple sizes. You should consider the items that you need to take with you. For example, when taking multiple medications for diabetes, you will likely need a larger bag than someone who only needs to carry a vial of insulin and a few syringes. You can set your items out and take some measurements to get a general idea about the best size of bag to hold all of your diabetes supplies.
WHAT SHOULD YOU PUT IN YOUR DIABETES CASE OR BAG?
There are several diabetic accessories that you should include in your compact diabetes case. You want to have all of the items you need to maintain your glucose levels and check them. To start preparing your diabetes case, you should make a list of the essentials so that you do not forget anything. The following items should be put in a supply bag for diabetes:
• Your diabetes medications, including any insulin vials, insulin pens or pills that you are taking
• Alcohol swabs and bandages for when you need to test your blood sugar
• Your glucose meter with test strips and lancets
• Backup batteries for your blood glucose monitor
• A card that includes the type of diabetes you have, the medicines that you take and your doctor’s contact information
• Small sugary snacks for times when your blood sugar gets too low
• Needles and syringes if you use insulin
• A small flashlight so that you can see your diabetes kit in the dark
HOW TO PACK A DIABETES BACKPACK
Once you choose a diabetes bag that fits your needs and you have all of your supplies ready, it is time to pack it. You should have enough of your medication to get you through at least 24 hours to be safe and when you are going to be away longer than this, carry enough medication for as long as you will be gone plus two days to give yourself a little extra just in case you get delayed returning home. You should have two lancets and test strips for each test. For example, when you test twice a day, you need four lancets and four test strips per day. This gives you extra just in case you need to repeat a blood sugar test.
Ensure some diversity regarding the foods that you bring with you. For example, bring some fresh fruit, some hard candy and some glucose tablets just in case your blood sugar gets too low. Pack enough alcohol swabs and bandages to cover each blood sugar check that you need to perform. Make sure that your bag has a little extra room so that if you remember something that you need to add at the last minute, your bag will be able to accommodate it.
KEEPING YOUR INSULIN COOL IN YOUR DIABETES TRAVEL CASE
Insulin contains preservatives to keep it fresh and effective. However, if your insulin gets too warm, it will eventually no longer work. After insulin remains in an environment with too high of a temperature for too long, the protein will start to break down as bacteria starts to grow in the liquid. You should keep your insulin at 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit to keep it safe to use.
When you are home, keep your insulin vials in your refrigerator. You should not keep it in your diabetes supply bag 24/7. When you are out, you can use cold packs to maintain a safe temperature for your insulin vials. There are bags that are insulated that will help to keep your insulin cool for longer. Also, when you use insulin pens, follow the storage and travel instructions that come with them to keep them safe.
ENSURING THAT YOUR DIABETES TRAVEL BAG MEETS TSA STANDARDS
When you plan to travel by airplane, you need to ensure that your diabetes travel bag meets all TSA standards so that you can carry it on the plane with you. Since your diabetes supplies often include needles and syringes, sharp lancets and prescription drugs, you need to ensure that you are following all TSA regulations or else you might have some trouble when you are trying to board. Use the following as a guide to ensure that your diabetes case passes TSA inspection:
• Insulin: If you take insulin, it is imperative that you have it on the plane with you. Be careful because when you put it in a bag that you check, the temperature and pressure changes in the luggage area on a plane could negatively affect your insulin. The TSA allows you to bring insulin on board even if it exceeds their rule of no liquids over 3.4 ounces. However, the prescription information should be clearly visible so that they know that it is legally prescribed to you. This is especially important for international travel. You are also allowed to bring cold packs to keep your insulin at the proper temperature.
• Glucagon: You should carry this in its pharmaceutically labeled container to get it onto a plane.
• Needles and syringes: You can bring these on a plane, but you need to have the prescription from your doctor with you. It is best to bring the box that these diabetes supplies come in since it will have the pharmaceutical label.
• Lancets: Your lancets should be with your glucose monitor when you fly. They must have the manufacturer label attached and be capped to pass airport security.
Your diabetes bag should be checked often to make sure that none of your diabetes supplies are expired. Pay special attention to any snacks and diabetes testing strips since these are the items that are most likely to have a shorter expiration date. You also need to replace any items that you use right away so that you always have a full supply ready. When you have a well-stocked bag, it makes it a lot easier to manage your diabetes when you are on the go or traveling. Share this article on social media and post a link to it on your website.