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Summer is here, and for people with diabetes, the increased heat can affect blood sugar levels. If your blood sugars are not controlled well, you could be at higher risk during the warm season. The sudden increase in physical activities during summer can cause blood sugar levels to decrease. This in turn reduces your need for insulin. Developing low blood sugars can also be a concern. Other than affecting your blood sugar levels, extreme temperatures may also damage your testing equipment and medications. Therefore, you need to take precautions to protect yourself and your supplies during very hot months. Read on for a list of diabetes management tips to help you during this summer heat.
It is important to stay hydrated during any physical activity, but the heat in summer increases that need even more, especially if you have diabetes. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. If you will be outdoors, bring along with you small bottles of water. During hiking trips, sports, and other forms of exercise, low-calorie electrolyte-replenishing drinks can be particularly helpful.
Keep Low Blood Sugar Treatment Items Handy
Always keep items such as glucose gel or glucose tabs with you. If you frequently have low blood sugar or had very low blood sugar previously, keep a glucagon kit with you as well. It is important to have these items handy in the event of low blood sugar so that you can treat it as soon as possible.
Adjust Your Insulin Accordingly
Check with your diabetes educator or provider on how you should adjust your insulin before taking part in physical activities. Sometimes, this can include consuming extra carbohydrates. Ensure that your doctor provides sufficient advice on urgent issues such as how to get your diabetes under control. Knowing how to adjust your insulin is essential in staying physically active without putting yourself at risk.
Test Blood Sugar Levels Often
High temperatures can cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate. Therefore, it is advisable to test your blood sugar levels more frequently during the summer months. Frequent blood sugar testing can help you take immediate action if required. You will need to monitor your levels frequently for a few hours after any physical activity or exercise, as the effects on your blood sugars can last for a while.
Have Snacks Ready
To prevent getting low blood sugar, have some snacks ready as a meal replacement. Talk to your dietician to determine possible snack options.
Getting sunburn can put stress on your body and raise blood sugar levels. Avoid getting sunburn by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, and protective eyewear. When the temperature reaches extreme levels, limit the time you spend outdoors.
Protect Your Medication
Ensure that your medication, glucagon kit, insulin, and other diabetes care products are well-protected especially when going outside. If you will be in a car, car coolers can help keep your supplies at the correct temperature. If you will be away from your vehicle for a long time, bring your supplies with you. Discuss possible options with your doctor to ensure that you and your supplies are kept safe during the summer.