Tips for a stress-free Christmas break
Managing type 1 through Christmas holidays can be stressful, so let’s get practical. Here are my tips for the Christmas break: Holidays overseas Make sure you have a letter from the doctor explaining that your family needs to take diabetes supplies on the plane. Insulin is fine at room temperature for about a month, but your spares will need to be kept cool; look into Frio cool storage bags because they’re reusable and don’t need a fridge. Remember that your child’s CGM and pump should not be taken through the scanners at the airport – you’ll need to request a pat down. Camping Unlike aeroplane travel where the time between fridges is short, camping can involve long distance car travel and limited or no refrigeration for long periods of time. A battery-run car fridge is ideal (make sure your insulin is protected from freezing by putting it in an insulated bag), but if this is not an option, explore Frio cases, or ask the helpful folk in the Family Centre's Online Parents' Community what works for them. If you’re using carb counting sites and apps, remember you may not be able to use them if you’re out of mobile range. Before you get on the road, consider writing down the carbs in the camp foods you’re planning to cook. Time spent sitting Being inactive for long periods of time can impact blood glucose levels. You may need to consider adjusting basal insulin for time spent being sedentary in a car or plane. Alternatively, you could factor in some pit-stops for a bit of physical activity and take a brisk walk every couple of hours. Activity levels Holiday schedules are nothing like the routine school week. Kids may be a lot more active, or a lot less active, and in both scenarios, you will most likely need to consider basal insulin adjustments. If your child is really active, you may even find they need less insulin at meal times. Vacation care If your child will be in vacation care over the school holidays, then make sure the staff at the care centre know the basics: how to detect and treat a hypo, how to give an injection/pump bolus, how to understand the CGM graph and arrows, when and if you would like them to give corrections. Send your child with a pre-carb counted lunch, and if you can, enlist a sibling or friend who will also be at the care centre who can spot the signs of a hypo and alert an adult. Kids at home If your kids are spending the holidays at home, they have more access to the fridge and pantry! Consider preparing some carb-counted meals and snacks, and have ‘free’ foods like vege sticks, cheese slices and nuts available to them to munch on. If they are heading out with friends, discuss food options, and make sure they have the Calorie King/My Fitness Pal apps on their phone and know how to search the carbohydrate count of takeout foods. And if you are monitoring your child via a CGM, make sure they calibrate before you leave in the morning!