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Press Release

Chronic Conditions Such As Diabetes Can Pose A Greater Risk To Some Business Travellers Than Infectious Diseases

International SOS provides travel advice on World Diabetes Day

Trevose, November 7 2017 – In advance of World Diabetes Day, on November 14, International SOS highlights the importance for travellers to manage their diabetes. Due to a range of factors inherent in travel, the ongoing medical management of mobile workers with chronic diseases such as diabetes may be disrupted. Failing to effectively manage chronic conditions can pose a greater risk to some traveling business executives than infectious diseases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that diabetes affects 8.5% of people over the age of 18 worldwide [1].Today, approximately 415 million adults have diabetes, and by 2040 this number is expected to reach 642 million[2].

Dr Irene Lai, medical director at International SOS comments, “When considering medical risks abroad, travellers often focus on infectious diseases that are present in exotic locations. Whilst these are serious risks that need to be considered, a more common issue is the underlying chronic disease that travellers take with them, such as diabetes. Traveling across time zones, for instance, can complicate schedules for eating and taking medications. Foods are unfamiliar. Medications and supplies may be confiscated at borders. Losing or running out of medications while abroad may not be the simple problem it is when at home. Brand names are different; the medications may not have been stored properly, may have expired or may even be counterfeit [3].”

International SOS offers the following advice to individuals with diabetes when they travel:

  • Visit your healthcare professional well in advance of travel to discuss your itinerary and activities.
  • Ensure your diabetes is stable and optimally controlled.
  • Have enough medication for the trip and a bit extra in case of delays. Medication should be in its original container, clearly labelled with the contents and your name
  • Request a letter describing your condition, medication and equipment required and a carry a copy of your prescriptions.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle even when away from home.
  • Members are advised to contact International SOS for assistance in sourcing appropriate healthcare providers when they are abroad if required.

[1] “Diabetes Fact Sheet”, World Health Organisation, November 2017.
[2] International Diabetes Federation, http://www.diabetesatlas.org/.
[3] 10-30% according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Counterfeit Medicines”, Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention

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About International SOS
International SOS (internationalsos.com) is the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company. We care for clients across the globe, from more than 850 locations in 92 countries. Our expertise is unique: More than 11,000 employees are led by 1,400 doctors and 200 security specialists. Teams work night and day to protect our members. We pioneer a range of preventive programmes strengthened by our in-country expertise. We deliver unrivalled emergency assistance during critical illness, accident or civil unrest. We are passionate about helping clients put ‘Duty of Care’ into practice. With us, multinational corporate clients, governments and NGOs can mitigate risks for their people working remotely or overseas.

Group Head of PR: Suzanne Withers
T +44 (0)20 8762 8494, M +44 (0)7584 522 497
suzanne.withers@internationalsos.com