For people with diabetes, it is important to be extra careful when temperatures rise during the summer season. Extreme heat can affect blood sugar especially for those who use insulin or those who do not adequately control their blood sugar levels already.
Here are some tips to help manage diabetes during the long days of summer.
- Stay well-hydrated – This is important for everyone during physical activity, but it is especially critical for diabetics. Dehydration causes blood glucose levels to rise. This leads to frequent urination, which then causes further dehydration, and a vicious cycle is born. Avoid this by drinking plenty of water.
- Consult with a doctor about your physical activity – Consult with your physician about the exercises and activities that are appropriate for you. In addition, talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about adjusting your insulin before exercise. Depending on the level of physical activity, low blood sugars are also possible. Adjusting insulin doses can help with this.
- Test your blood sugar levels often – Hot temperatures can cause levels to fluctuate. You will be able to take appropriate and immediate action to stabilize blood sugar by testing more frequently than usual.
- Keep snacks and items to treat low blood sugars with you – Seek advice from your doctor, diabetes educator, or a nutritionist for the types of snacks to carry with you. Glucose tablets or gel are recommended for those at high risk for low blood sugars.
- Protect your medication and supplies – Remember to keep your insulin and other supplies at proper temperature when traveling or outside. Insulin, medications, insulin pumps, and other diabetes management supplies can become ineffective and unusable when exposed to high temperatures. The weather can also have an adverse effect on test strips and monitoring devices.
- Avoid sunburn – Sunburn can stress your body and raise blood sugar levels. Always wear sunscreen and protective eye gear when outdoors for long periods of time.
Don’t allow the heat to keep you indoors. Diabetics just need to take a few precautions to enjoy a happy and healthy summer.