1 Information 10 Parkway London NW1 7AA Tel Fax Website COUNTRY GUIDE Belgium February 2002 / Updated August 2008 Page 1 of 8 People with diabetes can still bring insulin and non insulin injections with them onto aircraft despite new security restrictions introduced in recent years. Do please bear in mind that the situation has been subject to change, so we would recommend that you contact your airline directly or the Department for Transport on (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm) for the latest information. Alternatively you can visit their website at A letter from your doctor explaining your need to carry syringes/injection devices and insulin should be presented to the airline staff. Some GPs will charge for writing a letter, so if you travel frequently it would be a good idea to ask your doctor to phrase the letter in such a way that it can be used more than once. Liquid items are only permitted in hand luggage if they are in containers of less than 100ml. There are a few exceptions; essential medicines for the period of the trip may be permitted in larger quantities above the current 100ml limit, but will be subject to authentication. Passengers are also permitted to carry essential medical equipment through airport security, though all medication and equipment must be supported by documentation from a relevant qualified medical professional. Insulin and non insulin injections should be carried as hand luggage and not be put into the plane s hold as low temperatures can damage it. Some airlines may request that once on board medication be handed over for storage during the flight. Those travelling may wish to contact their airline in advance for the most up-to-date information on this issue. Q. Will I need to have any vaccinations to travel to Belgium? The charity for people with diabetes Diabetes UK is the operating name of the British Diabetic Association Company limited by guarantee Registered office: 10 Parkway, London NW1 7AA Registered in England no Registered charity no
2 Belgium COUNTRY GUIDE Page 2 of 8 A. You will need to discuss this with your GP. The Department of Health gives information on the recommended vaccinations for different countries, together with general advice on health risks, prevention and treatment. They also produce a leaflet, Access to healthcare abroad, which is available directly from the Department of Health or in your local Post Office. (More information can be found at or by calling ). Ask your doctor or diabetes nurse for advice on how to manage your diabetes should you have a reaction to a vaccine. Q. Do I have to carry identification when taking my insulin and syringes or tablets through customs? A. You should carry a letter from your doctor stating that you have diabetes, and explaining your treatment. Q. What medical services will be available to me as a UK citizen in Belgium? A. To claim back the cost of any treatment or medication you receive in Belgium you will need a valid EHIC card. You can apply online for an EHIC card at or in your local Post Office. You can also apply by calling Q. Will I be able to obtain my medication whilst abroad in case of an emergency? A. If you treat your diabetes with insulin then you should contact your insulin manufacturer before the trip to see if your insulin is supplied in Belgium. It is also worth checking that it is sold under the same name. Contact details are given below for the insulin manufacturers in the UK. CP Pharmaceuticals Ash Road North Wrexham Industrial Estate Wrexham LL13 9UF Telephone: Eli Lilly and Company Limited Lilly House Priestly Road Basingstoke Hampshire RG24 9NL Telephone: Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Limited Aventis Pharma Limited Novo Nordisk House Aventis House Broadfield Park 50 Kings Hill Avenue Brighton Road Kings Hill Pease Pottage West Malling Crawley Kent ME19 4AH West Sussex RH11 9RT Telephone:
3 Belgium COUNTRY GUIDE Page 3 of 8 Telephone: If you treat your diabetes with tablets, then you should contact the manufacturers of your tablets to see whether or not they are available in Belgium and under what name. Q. How will the different time zone affect my medication/control? The time zone in Belgium is GMT + 2 hours. Journeys across time zones may mean that you need to adjust your insulin. All international flights eastwards or westwards involve crossing time zones and days will be shortened or lengthened. There is no need to be alarmed about this. Many people cross time zones regularly without any serious problems. Remember that 'running a bit high' for up to 24 hours is most unlikely to cause you any harm. When travelling east to west, the day is lengthened and some clinics will advise you to take an extra meal and to cover it with extra insulin. When travelling west to east, the day is shortened and the amount of insulin and carbohydrate may need to be reduced. In general, if your time zone change is less than four hours, you will not need to make major changes to your injections. If your diabetes is treated with tablets, very occasionally it may be necessary to take an extra dose to cover a longer day or you may need to leave out one dose of tablets on a short day. However you treat your diabetes, it is important to address any adjustments you need to make to your treatment beforehand with your diabetes care team. When discussing this, make sure that you have your flight details to hand, including your departure time, the length of the flight, and the local time of arrival. Q. What syringes are used in Belgium? A. U100. Disposable syringes and pen injectors are always available. Q. Will I be able to obtain blood and urine-testing equipment? A. Yes Q. How is blood glucose measured in Belgium? A. Blood glucose levels are measured in mg/dl in Belgium.You may find the following conversion table helpful if you need to seek medical help. mmol/l mg/dl mmol/l mg/dl mmol/l mg/dl
4 Belgium COUNTRY GUIDE Page 4 of Q. What major languages are spoken in Belgium? A. Flemish (Dutch) is spoken in Flanders (northern Belgium) and French is spoken in Wallonia (southern Belgium). Brussels is officially bilingual. Q. What is the emergency services telephone number? A. 100 (free phone number). Q. Will I need an international driving licence when driving in Belgium? A. Yes, unless you already own a European driving licence. Q. If I want to hire a vehicle during my visit, will I face any form of discrimination? A. No Q. What are the staple starchy foods I can expect in Belgium? A. Potatoes (boiled, mixed, fried, chips), Pastas (spaghetti, macaroni, lasagne etc.). Q. What sugar-free drinks are available? A. Coca Cola light, Pepsi Max, Fanta light, Sprite light, Ice Tea Light, Orangina light, mineral water. Q. What savoury dishes might I find? A. Examples are: mussels and chips, steak and chips, chicken dishes, fish dishes. Extra vegetables are always available. Q. Does Belgium have a Diabetes Association that I might be able to contact during my visit? A. There are two associations: VDV (Flemish) and ABD (French).
5 Belgium COUNTRY GUIDE Page 5 of 8 Association Belge du Diabète ABD Belgian Diabetes Association Place Homère Goossens Brussels Belgium Tel Fax Website Vlaamse Diabetes Vereniging VDV Flemish Diabetes Association Ottergemsesteenweg Gent Belgium Tel Fax Website TRANSLATIONS Flemish (Dutch) 1. Is there anyone who can speak English? Spreekt er iemand Engels? 2. I have / he has / she has diabetes. Ik heb / hij heeft / zij heeft diabetes. 3. I / he / she need(s) to see a doctor urgently. Ik heb / hij heeft / zij heeft dringend een dokter nodig. 4. Please give me the address of the nearest doctor / hospital. Kan u mij a.u.b. het adres geven van de dichtsbijzijnde dokter / het dichtsbijzijnde ziekenhuis? 5. This person is having a hypo / hypoglycaemic episode.
6 Belgium COUNTRY GUIDE Page 6 of 8 Deze persoon heeft een 'hypo' / een aanval van hypoglycemie. 6. This person is on insulin treatment. He / she has... injections a day of... insulin. The dosage is... units. Deze persoon Volgt een insuline behandeling. Hij / zij staat op injecties per dag met insuline. De dosering is eenheden. 7. This person is on tablet treatment. He / she takes... Deze persoon is in behandeling met tabletten. Hij / zij neemt 8. I have lost / broken my insulin / tablets / needles / pens / syringes / blood glucose monitor / lancets / blood glucose testing strips / Identification disc. Ik verloor / brak mijn insuline / tabletten / naalden / pen / spuitjes / bloedglucosemeter / lancetten / bloedglucose teststrips / identificatie penning. 9. Please give me a prescription for insulin / needles / syringes / tablets / blood glucose testing strips / lancets. Krijg ik a.u.b. een voorschrift voor insuline / naalden / spuitjes / tabletten / bloed-glucose teststrips / lancetten. 10. Where is the nearest pharmacy? Waar is de dichtsbijzijnde apotheek? 11. Have you any sugar free drinks? Hebt u drankjes zonder suiker? 12. Do you have any artificial sweeteners? Hebt u kunstmatig zoetmiddel? 13. Would it be possible to keep this ice pack in your freezer for keeping my medicines cool? Kan u dit koelelement in uw diepvriezer leggen om mijn medicatie koel te bewaren? 14. This is a blood glucose meter, which I need for monitoring my diabetes. Dit is een bloedglucosemeter, ik heb hem nodig om mijn diabetes te kunnen opvolgen.
7 Belgium COUNTRY GUIDE Page 7 of 8 TRANSLATIONS - French 1. Is there anyone who can speak English? Y-a-t il quelqu un qui parle anglais? 2. I have / he has / she has diabetes. J ai / il a / elle a du diabète. 3. I / he / she need(s) to see a doctor urgently. J ai / il / elle a besoin de voir un médecin d urgence. 4. Please give me the address of the nearest doctor / hospital. Pouvez-vous m indiquer s il vous plaît l adresse de l hôpital ou du médecin le plus proche. 5. This person is having a hypo / hypoglycaemic episode Cette personne a un malaise hypoglycémique. 6. This person is on insulin treatment. He / she has... injections a day of...insulin. The dosage is... units. Cette personne est traitée par insuline. Il / elle se fait... injections par jour d insuline. La dose d insuline est... unités. 7. This person is on tablet treatment. He / she takes... Cette personne est sous antidiabétiques oraux. Il / elle prend I have lost / broken my insulin / tablets / needles / pens / syringes / blood glucose monitor / lancets / blood glucose testing strips / Identification disc. J ai perdu / cassé mon insuline / mes comprimés / mes aiguilles / mes stylos / mes seringues / mon lecteur de glycémie / mes lancettes / mes bandelettes de glycémie / ma carte de diabetique. 9. Please give me a prescription for insulin / needles / syringes / tablets / blood glucose testing strips / lancets. Faites-moi s il vous plaît une ordonnance pour insuline / aiguilles / seringues / comprimés / bandelettes glycémique / lancettes. 10. Where is the nearest pharmacy? Où se trouve la pharmacie la plus proche?
8 Belgium COUNTRY GUIDE Page 8 of Have you any sugar free drinks? Est-ce que vous avez des boissons sans sucre? 12. Do you have any artificial sweeteners? Avez-vous des édulcorants? 13. Would it be possible to keep this ice pack in your freezer for keeping my medicines cool? Pourriez-vous garder ce sac de glace dans votre congélateur pour maintenir mes médicaments au frais? 14. This is a blood glucose meter, which I need for monitoring my diabetes. Il s agit de mon lecteur de glycémie dont j ai besoin pour surveiller mon diabète Diabetes UK If you would like further information on any aspect of diabetes, please contact: Diabetes UK Careline 10 Parkway, London NW1 7AA Telephone (operates a translation service) Publications The Diabetes UK Catalogue describes our full range of books and leaflets, including Travel and diabetes (code: 8025). For a copy of this or the catalogue, please contact: Diabetes UK Distribution PO Box 1057, Bedford MK42 7XQ Telephone Insulin user s identity cards Diabetes UK insulin user s identity cards, which may help the cardholder verify his/her need to carry syringes and medication, are available from Diabetes UK Customer Services: Please note these cards do not hold any statutory status at present, and police or customs are not required by law to recognise the card and the information printed on it. The information in this Country guide was provided by the individual country s diabetes association. Although we have endeavoured to check its content, Diabetes UK cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies. All guides conform to a standard template. Diabetes UK 4025/1203/c Document ID 80