Teenagers and kids with Type 1 diabetes can still engage in camping and hiking activities. A little extra planning may be needed, but it is easy to manage your diabetes and still attend camp, or go on a hiking trip. Of course, it is easier if you go to a camp for diabetics because they will have the knowledge to care for you in an emergency. You don’t have to count out church camp, or a scout camp out. You and your parents will need to work with camp counselors and other adults that will be attending to watch your progress, and help you remain in control of blood sugar levels.
For children, it is recommended that they not go alone to a nondiabetes camp alone if they are under the age of eight. A parent or responsible adult can often go to help as a counselor, or help in the kitchen. Your child will then have you near if a medical emergency arises.
If your child or teen is going to a camp or hiking excursion alone, there are a few hints that will help the time to be enjoyable for them and less worrying for you. When going to a nondiabetes camp, be sure the camp is willing to let your child call their doctor if they feel it is necessary. If they don’t agree to that, you should find another camp. Talk to the camp leaders, care providers and any medical staff before your child or teen goes to camp. Discuss with them the need for healthy eating habits and activity so the insulin dosages can be prescribed accurately.
Camping and hiking is fun, and it is something you can take part in if you are diabetic. Carry extra water, and purification tablets with you when you are hiking. You are prone to dehydration because of your diabetes. Always keep water with you!
You will need to take supplies with you so be prepared to take care of your used supplies. Be sure to double bag all lancets, clipped needles, and other trash. While hiking, carry your diabetes supplies in the middle of your pack and next to your back to avoid damage from the sun. It is best to pack another set of supplies and keep it in a different place, or with someone else in case you should happen to lose your backpack.
If you are on an insulin pump, prepare for emergencies by packing extra batteries and supplies for shots if something should happen to the pump. Keep all of your meters wrapped inside your sleeping bag because they will give inaccurate readings if they are cold.
Always be sure an adult will check on you through the night. If you have had a day of vigorous activity, your insulin levels could be inaccurate and an adult will need to be aware of any signs of insulin shock.
Hiking, camping, and backpacking are all great outdoor activities. You don’t have to give them up if you have diabetes. Just plan a little more, make people aware of your disease, and keep everything you need handy. Carry extra water, and healthy snacks. You will enjoy your time outdoors and it will refresh you and give you a positive attitude.