To some the warm weather of summer means fun in the sun but to diabetics it can mean trouble. Humidity and heat can affect summer diabetes management and treatment making it hard to stay at the level you need. Follow this checklist this summer to make the most of the summer holiday.
Always stay hydrated. This is the most important thing and should always be at the top of the list. When dehydrated, blood sugars can raise to dangerously high levels. The best drink is water. Keep a bottle with you at all times. Club soda or seltzer water with lemon or a splash of fruit juice is the second best option. Avoid caffeinated drinks or drinks sweetened with sugar. If advised by doctor to limit fluid intake, ask for tips on how to stay hydrated. Water is important for summer diabetes care.
Keep cool. Seek out shade or hang out in air conditioning whenever possible. Extreme temperatures can put extra stress on the body so try not to get too hot or too cold. If you need or want to be outdoors, try to time it during the morning before the sun reaches its peak.
Keep medicine cool. The sun can damage test strips, insulin, glucose meters and other supplies. Never leave your medicine in direct sunlight or in a hot car. If traveling to the beach or pool, keep your supplies in a cooler.
Wear sunscreen regularly. Some diabetes medications can make you sensitive to the sun and burn easily. SPF 30 is a good choice of sunscreen protection as it will protect you from UVA and UVB rays. If you do get sunburned, treat it immediately.
Watch your diet. Picnics and barbecues are common during the summer months. The fried and fatty foods at these events can be bad for diabetics. Stick with healthy options when possible. Pack healthy snacks with you when you go places so you don’t have to go too long without eating. A good diet is always important but can be hard so remember this tip on your summer diabetes checklist.
Beware of heat exhaustion. Diabetes can make you more likely to get heat exhaustion. Signs that you may be getting overheated include dizziness, excessive sweating, muscle cramps, headaches, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and clammy skin. Drink water but if that doesn’t help, seek medical attention. Being hot and sweaty can indicate high or low blood pressure.
Wear comfy shoes. Flip flops can be tempting in the summer, but stick to close-toed shoes. Keep your feet covered to avoid cuts and bruises which could lead to infections. If at the beach, never go barefoot and watch out for sharp objects in the sand.
Diabetes is no reason to hide inside during the summer. Just remember this summer diabetes checklist! Enjoy the weather and stay aware of the heat so you can take care of your body and have a good summer.