Time Zones and Insulin
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When there is a time difference between your departure point and your destination, if you use local time to decide when meals and injections are due will make the time between some of your injections much more or much less than usual. This can cause you to have too little or too much insulin, so there is a risk of becoming ill just when you want to get on with enjoying your destination. There are several ways around this. The method given below is only one. We advise you to discuss the details of this with staff at your diabetes clinic.
The following methods assume you take three main meals each day.
For people who inject short-acting insulin at each meal
(e.g. Novorapid, Humalog, Actrapid, Humulin S, Hypurin Neutral)
If flying east-to-west e.g. from London to Mexico City, the time difference of 6 hours will make the day 6 hours longer. Because of this you will need to take an extra dose of short acting insulin 4-6 hours after your third main meal of the day. You should eat after this injection. Treat it like an extra medium sized main meal.
If flying west-to-east e.g. from Saudi Arabia to Tokyo, the time difference of 5 hours 30 minutes will make the day 5 1/2 hours shorter. Because of this you will probably be having one less meal on your day of travel so you will have one less injection of short acting insulin. You should continue to take your long-acting injections at the usual times (measured at local time).
For people who take a mixed-insulin twice each day
(e.g. Humulin M3, Mixtard 30/70)
If you take a mixed insulin twice each day and are going on the same, west-to-east Saudi Arabia to Tokyo flight as above, you could do this: Discuss with your clinic staff about missing your second injection of mixed insulin and taking instead an injection of short-acting insulin supplied by the clinic. The dose will be about the same as the short-acting component of your usual mixture. You would then only be taking two main meals plus snacks on that day - but the day would be 5 1/2 hours shorter because of the time difference.
If you are flying east-to-west, on the London to Mexico City flight, you could do this: Discuss with your clinic about taking your usual two injections per day plus an extra injection of short-acting insulin 8-10 hours after your first injection of the day. This would be just before the time of your usual third main meal. Take your next dose of mixed insulin with your fourth main meal. This way you will be taking four main meals plus snacks on that day, but the time difference will lengthen the day by 6 hours.
If you usually Free-Mix your insulins
If you usually free-mix your insulins, that is take some short-acting and some long-acting (isophane) you can follow the suggestions for people who take fixed mixtures (above). You will already have soluble insulin available to you. Discuss this with your clinic staff before you set off.
For more information on this topic visit http://www.voyagemd.com
|Date last reviewed: 07/08/2015 ( to be reviewed by 07/08/2016 )|
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