I get hot looking at that picture!
Well, it’s here. Finally. Summer. School is out. The days are longer. And, it’s hot, or will be soon. Maybe real hot. And, you might be going on vaction. So, do Diabetics need to do anything when it’s hot?
I learned that Diabetics had to treat the Summer and heat with respect years before I was diagnosed. For years, I worked in a place that attracted a lot of people and the first two weeks when the temperature rose to over 85 degrees, a few Diabetics always had trouble. Sometimes they forgot to eat. Sometimes they got too hot. Sometimes they forgot to drink water or liquids. The result? They feinted and their day was interrupted. I don’t want that to happen to you – ever.
Take care of yourself and your meds. Use common sense.
- Stay hydrated. We all know what that means, but for Diabetics it becomes even more important. If you get thirsty, you might already be facing the start of dehydration. So, drink water before you get thirsty. If you don’t like water, put a bit of flavoring in it. There are only about 50 flavorings available for water in the grocery stores that do not have sugar. Find a couple you like and drink water.
- Avoid heat exhaustion. “People with diabetes and other chronic diseases like heart disease are more susceptible to overheating. Symptoms include: feeling dizzy or fainting; sweating excessively; muscle cramps; skin that is cold or clammy; headaches; rapid heartbeat and/or nausea. If you experience any of these symptoms, move to a cooler environment, drink fluids like water, juice or sports drinks (based on your healthcare provider’s instructions) and seek medical attention.” (joslin.org)
- Use sunscreen to keep from burning.
- Exercise in the morning or in the cooler evening (if it gets cooler where you are). If you have to exercise during the day, do it in an air conditioned space.
- Don’t forget to eat. Sometimes you might not feel hungry when it’s hot. If you don’t eat, your blood sugar might get too low. Think about having a number of smaller meals. You still maybe working to lose weight; don’t stop. Again, more and smaller meals is better to keep glucose level and keep you from getting hungry.
- Test often to keep it under control. Test a minimum of twice a day; some recommend four times a day.
- Store your test strips and meter in a cool, dry place.
- If you use insulin, keep it cool – like in a refrigerator or cooler if you are on the go. Never leave insulin in a car – it gets really hot in there!
Enjoy the Summer. Enjoy being with your family. And, with a few precautions, you can have a wonderful time.
Katherine, our pharmacist, will be writing about medications and sun sensitivity this week, so stay tuned.
For more information about Summer and Diabetes, look at:
- The Mayo Clinic
- Joslin Diabetes Center
- WebMD – a very interesting study done on the effects of heat on Diabetics.
- American Diabetes Association – Tips for Travel
As always, thank you for reading.