Safety Tips for Sweltering Summer Days

With the hot summer days ahead we all need to take care in the heat. For people with diabetes, it's important to take extra precautions to manage your diabetes during those hot summer days.

First thing—keep hydrated!! The heat causes you to sweat more and dehydration will raise your blood glucose levels. Water is your best fluid replacement. All good news—no calories, no carbohydrates, and pure hydration. If you do choose fluids with calories, be sure to account for the carbs.

Check the sensation: The heat can fool you into thinking you are low when you are not. Sweating, flushing, rapid heartbeat are symptoms of hypoglycemia but they can also be a consequence of the heat. Before you take extra carbs you may not need, check your blood glucose. A full glass of water and getting out of the heat may be the answer.

Keep your footwear on: It may be fun wiggling your toes in the toasty, sun-baked sand, but if you have neuropathy or vascular problems keep your shoes on. Neuropathy can make it difficult for you to feel if your feet are getting burned. The same for walking poorly shod on hot pavement. Unnoticed cuts and sores can let bacteria in, leading to a nasty infection.

Chill those supplies: Meter strips are sensitive to heat and humidity. Keep them in a secure place (avoid your car glove compartment). Insulin is denatured by excess heat and direct sunlight. Store your supplies in a cooking pack if you are going to be in the heat for an extended period. If you have had your insulin out in the sun and notice your blood glucose numbers are higher than usual, it may be time for a new vial or pen.

Take a pump vacation: going to the beach perhaps? The insulin in your pump is just as sensitive to the heat as insulin in a vial. This may be the time to leave the pump at home and carry a pen or vial and syringe in a cool pack.

So be prepared and when you’re cursing the heat, and keep thinking about all the snow you’re not shoveling.

Although this content is reviewed by Joslin Diabetes Center healthcare professionals, it is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.