How The Summer Heat Can Affect Your Diabetes Management

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As summer approaches, we all have things we’re looking forward to: longer days, sunshine, barbeques, water fights, and, hopefully, some time to rest and relax! However, depending on where you live, you might also be preparing for several months of high temperatures.

For you, this means steering wheels that burn your palms, dressing in ridiculous layers to account in establishments blasting their air conditioners, and one more element to consider when managing your diabetes. Well, we’ve got you covered with some reminders, tips, and tricks to help you beat the summer heat!

Stay Hydrated

Summer Heat 1

Dehydration is common in warmer weather, and if you have diabetes, you need to be especially careful. Uncontrolled blood glucose levels can cause dehydration, a problem that can be exacerbated by frequent urination. It’s important that you drink plenty of water or sugar-free seltzer. Remember that caffeine and alcohol dehydrate you, so make sure to consume with caution.

Check Your Numbers More

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Joslin.org recommends checking your numbers at least 4 times daily to account for heat-related fluctuations.

Protect Your Feet

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Sweat can cause your feet to remain moist. Make sure you do what you can to keep your feet dry and protected. If you know you’re going to be outdoors for an extended period of time, consider packing an extra pair of socks to change into if the first pair gets damp with sweat. If you’re wearing sandals, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your feet and toes. Examine your feet daily.

Continue To Exercise

Young boy jumping into lake

The summer heat can zap your energy levels, but it’s imperative to maintain an exercise routine. Instead of ditching the workout altogether, consider switching it up. Plan to do outdoor activities during the cooler hours of the day. Try swimming or enjoying a brisk indoor walk (most malls open early for people to walk in the comfortable air conditioning). It’s possible to stay active in the summer. You just have to plan ahead, and make sure to apply sunscreen (we can’t stress this one enough)!

Always Pack Snacks

Funny happy child eating watermelon outdoors, making a smile

With the heat potentially causing some fluctuations in your numbers, it’s even more important to pack healthy snacks. You might want to evaluate your regular go-to’s and ask yourself if they’re giving you any added benefits. Consider including some delicious seasonal fruits (melons and berries) for some added hydration. Cucumbers and squash are full of vitamins A and C, which help combat damage from sun exposure.

Heat Exhaustion

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People with diabetes are more at risk of overheating. As a result, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion, which include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Clammy skin
  • Nausea
  • Rapid pulse

If you begin experiencing these symptoms, rest in a cool place and hydrate. Consider a cool shower. Seek medical attention if necessary.

Protect Your Supplies

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Make sure your management equipment stays safe. It should always be stored in a cool, dry place, and should be kept out of direct sunlight. Avoid storing items in your car where temperatures soar. Check insulin prior to use (should be clear and free of clouds and clumps).

Did we miss anything? What are your tricks for beating the summer heat?

Medianet DBS
L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.