8 Smart Tips for Managing Diabetes This Summer
By Garima Thapar, MD, Virtua Endocrinologist
Barefoot walks on the beach. Increased time outdoors with the kids and grandkids. Backyard barbecues. Summer can be a welcome change of pace, but it also can throw off your daily diabetes management plan.
Here’s how to keep your diabetes under control as the temperature rises:
- Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. You can become dehydrated more quickly than someone without diabetes. Always carry a bottle of water with you. Stay away from alcohol and beverages with caffeine.
- Check your blood sugar level more frequently. The heat may change how your body uses insulin. Ask your doctor about adjusting your insulin dose. Bring a snack with you to help prevent low levels.
- Protect your diabetes medicine and equipment. Extreme temperatures may affect how they work. Don’t leave your insulin, diabetes medicine, blood sugar monitor, or test strips in a hot car or direct sunlight. Carry insulin in a chilling case—a special pack designed to keep insulin cool but not too cold.
- Avoid midday outdoor activity. Physical activity is key to managing diabetes, but don’t get active outdoors in the heat of the day.
- Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Sunburn stresses the body and can raise blood sugar levels.
- Spend time indoors. If it’s too hot outside, keep cool in air conditioning.
- Wear shoes and socks at all times. Never walk barefoot, even in your home. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet—no open footwear. Check inside your shoes before wearing them to make sure the lining is smooth, and there are no objects inside. Follow your doctor’s directions for daily foot checks looking for sores, cuts, bruises, and toenail changes.
- Don’t let all the fun distract you from staying healthy. Take your medicine, follow your eating and exercise plan, and manage your blood pressure and cholesterol. Schedule eye, kidney function, and A1c tests, if they’re due.
By taking a few precautions, you can enjoy a healthy, active summer.
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Updated August 6, 2020