Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic is home to white beaches and clear blue ocean water
Dominican Republic is home to white beaches and clear blue ocean water

Dominican Republic is a picturesque country, with the tourist area of Bávaro home to white beaches and blue ocean water.

Other treats come in the form of Altos de Chavón, Los Haitises National Park and Columbus Lighthouse.

Getting to the Dominican

108,300 British nationals visited the Dominican Republic in 2013, which is accessible from the United Kingdom only by airplane.

Flight times

Flight times from Birmingham to Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic capital, will require a lengthy journey in which travellers with diabetes must prepare for medication management on board the plane.

Depending on your airline, you may be able to fly in around 17 hours, but this can extend to 26 hours based on the length and location of your stops.

If you are unsure as to how to manage your diabetes while in the air then you should discuss a plan with your diabetic specialist.

Time zone

Dominican Republic is three hours behind British Summer Time and four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.

This shouldn't require drastic changes to your diabetes management, but you should consult with your diabetes team if you have any doubts regarding medication.

Climate

The climate of the Dominican Republic is what attracts many tourists, which average temperatures remaining around 25°C all-year round.

If you take insulin, you should test your blood sugar levels more often as warmer climates can result in enhanced insulin absorption.

You could consider reducing your dosages if you know you will be engaging in exercise.

Currency

The currency of Dominican Republic is the Dominican Peso. ATMs are widely available, but other currencies are not readily accepted or changeable at resorts. It is therefore wise to exchange currency before you leave or as soon as you arrive.

Vaccinations

There are no mandatory vaccinations to enter Dominican Republic, however some are recommended. You should consult your doctor eight weeks prior to your departure in order to receive the vaccinations in time.

All travellers are recommended to get vaccinations for hepatitis A and typhoid, which can both be contracted through contaminated food or water.

You should also talk to your doctor about how to prevent the contraction of malaria while travelling. Your doctor may prescribe you medication before, during and after your stay and will advise you on what to do to avoid getting malaria.

Some travellers are also recommended to receive vaccinations for other diseases, including hepatitis B and rabies, which can be carried by dogs, bats and other mammals in Dominican Republic.

Otherwise, the opportunity should be taken to ensure existing vaccinations such as your yearly flu jab and those against polio and tetanus are also up to date.

Insulin

You should note which syringes are available in Dominican Republic, with U-100 the most commonly used.

The vast majority of insulin in the UK is U-100 insulin. If you need to take a different strength of insulin, say in an emergency, it’s important that you use the correct device and syringes for that insulin.

For example, you would use a U-40 syringe for U-40 insulin. You will need to work with a doctor getting the right dose if you’re using a different form of insulin.

Ensuring access to medication

UK citizens with diabetes will not be entitled to any free medication services while in Dominican Republic. Securing comprehensive medical insurance will be essential in order to obtain even basic treatment.

Diabetic medication is available in Dominican Republic, but payment will be required from all pharmacies. Blood and urine testing kits are available from pharmacies in Dominican Republic.

The emergency services telephone number to be called in the Dominican Republic is 911.

It is worth checking with the manufacturer of your meter in the UK if the particular equipment you require is available in Dominican Republic beforehand and if it is sold under any different names.

Diabetes associations

It is important to note the diabetes associations in the country you are travelling to in case of an emergency.

Dominican Republic has two diabetic associations that can be contacted prior to your arrival. The addresses are:

  • Instituto Nacional de Diabetes, Endocrinologia y Nutricion (a member of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) since 1985),
    Av Paseo del Yaqui,
    Los Rios,
    16004 Santo Domingo,
    Dominican Republic
    Tel: 1-809-3850451
    Email: a.ibrahim@unibe.edu.do
  • Sociedad Dominicana de Diabetes (a member of the IDF since 1985),
    Aptdo de Correos 61,
    Santo Domingo,
    Dominican Republic
    Tel: +1-809-3850418
    Email: ammaribrahim@hotmail.com

Questions

  • How is blood glucose measured in Dominican Republic? mg/dL
  • What language is spoken in Dominican Republic? Spanish. Locals will have a grasp of English, but it will pay to learn some basic Spanish phrases to assist in your day-to-day activities.
  • Will I need an international driving license when driving in Dominican Republic? No
  • If I want to hire a vehicle during my visit, will I face any form of discrimination? No
  • What sugar free drinks are available in Dominican Republic? Diet Coke, Diet Sprite and Pepsi Max, among others
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