Although our summers often include vacations, as you know there is no such thing as taking a vacation from managing your diabetes! Managing diabetes year round can often have its challenges, but especially in the summer heat, where controlling blood glucose levels can become very difficult. It is important to be extra mindful, of monitoring your blood glucose levels especially in extreme heat and temperatures. People may see both high and low blood glucose fluctuations as a result of the heat in addition to other factors. Below are some tips to help you plan ahead when you plan to be outside:
Hydrate, Hydrate, HYDRATE
It is very easy to become dehydrated especially in the hot temperatures outside. Make sure to drink plenty of water, or other low carbohydrate beverages and avoid anything that contains sugar that may cause your blood glucose levels to spike.
We should be wearing sunscreen for many reasons in general, but sunburn or sun poisoning may contribute to hyperglycemia. When out in the sun for extended periods, make sure to reapply.
Monitor Blood sugar levels more frequently
especially in the hot summer sun, blood sugar levels may fluctuate more than normal. Symptoms of high or low blood sugars such as headaches or feeling shaky or sweaty may also go unrecognized due to the heat.
Carry appropriate treatment for hypoglycemia
Blood glucose levels may drop very quickly, so make sure you have a fast acting carbohydrate such as glucose tablets on hand. You may also want to keep a small snack on hand, in the event your blood glucose levels are dropping.
Take care of your supplies
Keep your insulin, testing supplies, insulin pump or your meter, out of extreme hot temperatures, such as the sun or leaving in a hot car.
If going on vacation, a cook out or any other social event make sure you pack your diabetes medications, testing supplies and anything else that you may need.
Physical activity is often easier during the summer months, and is a great time to utilize outdoor activities. Especially if exercising outdoors it is important to plan out your activity around the weather. Tip: Try walking in the morning or early evening, when it cools down or find a nice park with some shade to prevent walking in the hot sun!
Inspect your feet daily
Often in the summer we wear flip flops or sandals that may not provide us with the proper support we need or we may opt to walk around bare foot. This may increase the risk of cutting your foot on something such as a glass or a pebble, or getting a splinter, which could lead to an infection. It is important to examine your feet daily to prevent any diabetes foot-related complications and follow up with your podiatrist if you notice any changes in the condition of your feet.
Stay up to date with appointments
With vacations and other events that often occupy our summer months, we often we push off appointments with our endocrinologist, primary care doctor, or other specialists over the summer months. It is important to follow with them as discussed.
Many of the summery alcoholic beverages we consumed may contain a lot of added sugar, which contribute to both calories and carbohydrates in our diet. It is also important to consider that alcohol consumption may increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
Have a happy and healthy summer!