Tips for Managing Diabetes in the Summer

CWD FFL Beach Party diabetes advocacy

It’s summer!! I mean it really is finally summer! Some areas have been enjoying great weather for a bit but where I live–well, I kind of wondered if summer was ever going to show up.   Now that it is really here, let’s talk about a few tips for managing diabetes in the summer months.

Keep your insulin and test strips cool.

Summer heat can literally ruin blood glucose test strips and insulin.  If you are on injections, make sure to keep your insulin stored in a cool place. If you are pumping, again, make sure that your pump doesn’t get overheated.  You may even want to consider changing out your cartridges more often to ensure that your insulin is fresh and hasn’t been compromised by the heat.

Frio Pack diabetes advocacy

Test strips also react to extreme temperatures.  Again, make sure that they are stored in a cool place.  If you are traveling to the beach or theme parks, you may want to invest in a FRIO Insulin Cooling Pump Wallet.  They are convenient little cooling packs that will help to keep things chilled.

If you don’t have access to Frio packs, another great suggestion is to use frozen juice packs.  You can keep your supplies cool and are prepared for lows!

Mastistol and Antiperspirant are pumpers’ new best friends.

mastisol diabetes advocacy

Summer often means swimming and swimming can mean chlorine. Chlorine can bring extra headaches for people with diabetes using an insulin pump in the summer. Personally,  the only way for us  to keep sites on in chlorine was by making sure that a product like Mastisol Liquid Adhesive was used on the skin prior to set insertion.

For people using an insulin pump and/or a CGM, you may also want to look at using an antiperspirant on the site.  Apply a light coat of antiperspirant (not deodorant) to the insertion site area.  This will help to keep sites in place when your body begins to sweat!

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Have snacks everywhere.

jelly beans diabetes advocacy

Summer heat can bring its own challenges for managing diabetes. It tends to mean more exertion and rapidly dropping blood glucose levels.  Make sure to carry extra snack foods with you wherever you go.  One parent suggests that you stock up on Freezies.  They are perfect treats for lows and also help ward off dehydration.  Other families have suggested fruit and frozen grapes as must have snacks for on the go.

Drink lots of water.

water diabetes advocacy

Dehydration is a real problem in the heat.  It is especially important for people living with diabetes to stay hydrated because dehydration will cause blood glucose levels to spike.

Check BG levels often.

Blood Ketone meter diabetes advocacy

Heat, exhaustion and the fun of the sun can really mess with blood glucose levels so make sure that you check blood glucose levels often to avoid any serious diabetes-related emergencies.

Bring extras!

infusion sets diabetes advocacy

As I have said, infusion sets can fall out.  Blood sugar levels can go crazy.  It is vital that you carry extras of everything–extra snacks, extra water, extra test strips, extra insulin and extra infusion sets just in case.

Wear sunscreen.

sunscreen diabetes advocacy

I know, everyone is supposed to wear sunscreen so really is this a diabetes issue? Well no…and yes! It turns out that sunburns have been known to really mess with blood glucose levels.  The moral of the story? Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen to help keep blood glucose levels in check.

Have fun!

toddler from Diabetes Advocacy

Finally, in Canada especially, we just don’t seem to see summer for long enough so plan ahead and enjoy all that this summer has to offer you and your family!

If you are planning on traveling to find the sun this year, don’t forget to check out our complete travel checklist so that you don’t forget anything before you go!

Beam me over Scottie!

The other day I woke up to a text on my phone that read…

“Text me when you get up.”

It was my youngest son.   His site fallen out during the night. He had changed it only to have the second one kink. He had been vomiting, spilling ketones, and needed a bit of encouragement on the best way to move forward.  After injections and no sleep, he was slowly on the road to recovery by the time I was talking to him.

Having had a good sleep, I felt guilty. I wished that there had been some way to beam myself to his bedside and allow him some relief during the night. There isn’t. This is his life to deal with. I can’t do anything about it nor can I be much more than a voice at the end of the phone or a text message in the middle of the night. That is what happens when our babies grow up.

Despite that, my imagination began to wander.  With the world so vast and so many different time zones, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could beam ourselves to another’s side? I am usually up for the day when my friends in the Pacific time zones are doing a 3am bg check. I could cover that. I could handle the lows and correct the highs that mess with their sleep.

What a relief that would be if you could just ask a trusted friend in another time zone to twitch their nose and be there for you or your child when you are just too exhausted to do it yourself.  Who would need CGMs or artificial pancreases? We could have a great network all over the world reaching out and helping each other!

Who am I kidding, technology and a cure would be much better.  Would you really want to wake up to find your friend standing over you in your bedroom? Your bed-head hairdo at its finest and a person that you only know through Facebook giving you juice or a report on your child’s failed site? Okay, it’s a little creepy. A cure would be best but it does create a lot of great imagery!