Keeping Your Cool

Tips for beating the heat this summer are doubly important for people with diabetes

When it gets hot, do you know what to do?

Keeping Your Cool stock - AA girl and fanHopefully, precautions such staying hydrated, protecting your skin, and staying indoors during peak high temperatures are second nature to you. But if you struggle with diabetes, you will need to do all these things and a little more.  

People with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes may respond differently to heat. Damage to blood vessels and nerves can impair the ability to sweat, so the body doesn’t cool as effectively. People with diabetes can also get dehydrated more easily, and high temperatures can change how the body uses insulin, affecting blood sugar.

As the weather heats up, remember to:

  1. Drink plenty of fluids. Water is the best but calorie-free and caffeine-free sodas and sparkling waters can help too.
  2. Exercise indoors. A walking routine has great benefits, but in the summer, walking inside on a treadmill or taking laps around the mall can help you stay cooler. If you really crave the outdoors, walk in the cooler hours—early in the morning or later in the evening.
  3. Keep your feet cool and covered. If diabetes has damaged your nerves, you may not feel how hot surfaces such as sand or pavement have become.
  4. Apply sunscreen and moisturizer liberally and often. Protect your skin from dryness of both heat and air conditioning, and use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
  5. Check your blood sugar more often. If you are traveling or eating out more, or just in a different routine in the summer, take extra care to keep your blood sugar levels within the correct range.
  6. Keep your medications and supplies cool, too. Insulin and insulin pens need a cooler pack if you are going to be outside for long periods of time. The same applies to glucose meters and test strips. A locked car or beach bag in the sun will get too hot for your supplies.

Learn more about diabates and keeping cool.

The Center for Diabetes Management at St. Joseph’s/Candler offers individual diabetes management counseling programs through physician referral. Programs are coordinated by certified diabetes educators. To learn more, call 912-819-6146 in Savannah or 843-815-2949 in Bluffton.

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