Managing Diabetes in the Heat

When there is a heat wave in your area, it is essential to manage your diabetes mellitus carefully to avoid any complications. Here are several ways to manage your blood sugar levels despite the hot summertime weather. 

Way 1: Wear Loose and Lightweight Garments 

If you are a diabetic, then your body’s blood vessels and nerves are extra sensitive to heat, preventing effective perspiration to remain cool. This makes you more susceptible for having a dangerous heat stroke, but you can help your body remain cooler by wearing lightweight and loose garments. Choose natural fabrics such as linen or cotton so that air can circulate against your skin easily when it is hot outside. Avoid wearing tight polyester undergarments and socks that will make you feel hotter in the summer. 

Way 2: Drink More Water To Remain Hydrated 

Hot temperatures will make you perspire more, and when you have diabetes mellitus, it is easier to become dehydrated quickly. Dehydration can cause additional problems for your body such as dizziness and muscle cramps. When you are diabetic, dehydration can lead to changes in your blood sugar levels. Make sure to drink as much water as possible when there is a heat wave to avoid dehydration. To prevent dehydration, you can also consume juicy vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, leafy green vegetables or blueberries. 

Way 3: Use Circulating Fans and an Air Conditioner 

During a heat wave, you should use circulating fans and an air conditioner as much as possible. If you don’t have these items, then open the windows to permit air to enter but keep your draperies closed to block the sun. Apply ice packs or cold compresses against your skin to remain cooler. You can also take cold showers or sit in a bathtub filled with cool water to avoid heat exhaustion. When you drive a vehicle, open the windows to help the hot air escape before turning on the air conditioner. 

Way 4: Maintain Your Blood Sugar Levels

Have extra supplies available to check your blood sugar levels frequently when it is hot outside. Carry extra insulin with you so that you have enough for an additional injection. However, don’t store your insulin in a hot vehicle because it will ruin the medication. Have a specialized cool pack container to hold your insulin, needles and syringes. In addition, pack bottles of plain water in your vehicle so that you won’t become tempted by sugary soft drinks or sweet tea that can increase your blood sugar levels. 

Way 5: Prevent Sunburn While Outside

As a diabetic, your skin is more sensitive, and you can experience sunburned skin quickly while you are outside. Use sunscreen creams and lotions that have high sun protection factors to prevent burned skin that can lead to a high blood sugar level or dehydration. Make sure to protect your feet from the dangers of burns or cuts by always wearing shoes. If you are diabetic, then you will have poor blood circulation in your feet, and a small injury of the soles or toes of your feet can lead to severe complications. 

Way 6: Monitor Your Daily Diet Carefully

When you are having fun in the summer at barbecue dinners or other activities, you must still monitor your daily diet carefully. Keep track of what you are eating at each meal or snack, and make sure to ask chefs what is in a food or beverage before consuming it. Continue to test your blood sugar levels throughout the day to avoid a dangerous problem that can lead to a diabetic coma. 

Way 7: Are You Prepared For Emergencies?

Make sure that you are prepared for emergencies that can make it difficult to manage your blood sugar levels. If there is a power outage, then you must know what to do to keep your insulin usable without refrigeration. Have a backpack that you can use to carry medications such as insulin and other supplies to go to a safer location such as an emergency shelter. Make sure to have a cell phone that is charged so that you can contact paramedics when you have a severe complication with your blood sugar levels.