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We often look forward to a change of seasons and warmer temperatures. However, if you have diabetes it may mean you are especially sensitive to the hot weather. Extreme heat can affect your blood sugar control and if you use insulin or your blood sugars aren’t effectively controlled you could be at higher risk over the next few months.
1. Protect your diabetes supplies and medications
Take necessary precautions to protect your insulin, glucagon kit and other supplies before you head outdoors. Try our cooling pouches to keep your diabetic supplies at the right temperature or our range of travel cases to protect your supplies if you are heading out on a trip and need to carry supplies with you.
2. Avoid getting sunburnt
Sunburn can happen anywhere even when the weather appears to be overcast. Sunburn stresses your body and can raise blood sugar levels. It is important to wear high SPF sunscreen and wear protective eye gear to avoid getting burnt. If there is the option to sit in the shade or take breaks from the sun this will help with managing your blood glucose levels.
3. Limit how much time you spend outside in extreme temperatures
While it is important to remain active during the summer months, it is important to take advantage of the outdoor activities when temperatures aren’t too extreme. If you take the necessary precautions you can still enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle in any weather.
4. Plan ahead
If you know you are going to be out in the heat, make sure you have all of your medications and supplies with you. Planning is important, so make sure you pack more than you think you will need in case of an emergency.
5. Inspect your feet
Often in the summer we wear flip flops or sandals that may not provide the proper support that is needed. This can increase the risk of cutting your foot or getting a splinter which could lead to an infection. It is important to examine your feet daily to prevent any complications and moisturise your feet as needed.
6. Stay hydrated
Sudden heat can affect your blood sugar levels, and this is contingent upon what you’ve eaten, hydration levels and activity. If your activity makes you sweat, you may become dehydrated which will cause your blood glucose levels to rise. Dehydration can reduce blood supply to the skin and therefore the ability of your body to absorb the insulin that has been injected may be reduced.
7. Heat can affect your medication
Most types of insulin can tolerate temperatures up to 95º Fahrenheit (35ºC). However, exposing your supply to anything higher than this will make medications break down quickly. Pay attention to any insulin you’re carrying with you in the heat. Try our insulin cooling pouches available in three different sizes, which are designed to keep your insulin cool for up to 36 hours. With no ice needed, just submerge in cold water, these pouches can also store insulin pens, syringes, lancets and much more depending on size!
8. Adjust your insulin dosage
Physical activity usually causes blood sugar levels to decrease, reducing your need for insulin. The addition of exercise may put you at an increased risk for low blood sugars. If you are active in extreme heat, you may be at risk of both high and low blood sugars, therefore take extra precautions and monitor your sugar levels before exercising. Consult a medical expert and then adjust your dosage accordingly.
9. Test your blood sugar levels frequently
Since hot temperatures can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate it is important to test more often. This will allow you to take appropriate and immediate action to keep your levels stable. Effects of activities on blood sugars usually last for a longer period of time, therefore continue to monitor in the hours following exercise.
10. Carry treats or snacks to keep your blood sugar levels stable
This may include glucose tabs or gel. If you are at risk of very low blood sugar you should often have a glucagon kit available. You may also want to take some snacks with you if heading out in the heat. Some snacks can even serve as a meal replacement, while others help prevent low blood sugar. Discuss these possible options with your dietician or doctor.
Glucology Store was born in Sydney Australia. Our mission is to help improve the lives of people living with diabetes by providing the best possible support products and information.
Remember to always seek advice from your medical practitioner before changing anything about your diabetes management. The above information is NOT medical advice.