Enjoying the sun is a given during the summer. However, the hot weather can bring with it hazards for individuals living with diabetes.
Take extra precautions to ensure that your diabetes and wellbeing stay under control during the long, hot summer days.
Keep your Feet Safe
Warmer weather means more time spent outdoors, playing sports, swimming at the beach and wearing open toed shoes. All of these activities can put your feet at greater risk of sustaining an injury, so it is important to take extra care in keeping them protected.
Take precautions such as inspecting your feet before and after exercising, not walking across hot sand or roads barefoot and treating any cuts or abrasions as soon as they occur. If you experience any injury to your feet, be sure to seek help from a medical professional.
Remember, it is always recommended that individuals living with diabetes have annual foot check-ups from a healthcare professional.
Heat, Insulin, Testing Strips and Meters
If you use insulin to treat your diabetes, you will need to be cautious of how you store it during the warmer days. Insulin is to be stored at temperatures no higher that 30o degrees, and no lower than 5o degrees.
If your insulin appears to be discoloured, or has solid particles, it will need to be discarded. Remember to never leave your insulin in a car on a hot day or stored directly on ice. To keep your insulin at the right temperature use a cooling pack or Esky, but never store it directly on ice.
Exposure to extreme heat can also compromise the accuracy of blood glucose monitors and testing strips. Be extremely mindful to never leave you meter, strips or insulin in direct sunlight, or in a hot car.
Be Careful of Heat Stroke
During the summer, the risk of developing heat exhaustion increases. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, tiredness, muscle cramps, stomach cramps and pale skin. As some of these symptoms are similar to hypoglycaemia, it is important to remain vigilant.
Never assume the heat is the only thing responsible for these symptoms, and test regularly to ensure that your BGLs are not low.
Marian is a Diabetes Educator and an Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Diabetes WA.