Managing the Heat

Whether you’re staycationing here in Georgia or traveling to somewhere tropic this summer it’s important to be aware of the heat when managing blood sugar. If you have ever been baffled by a sudden spike or drop while playing out in the sun it may be the heat that is to blame. Summer is a time where you should keep a close eye on BG levels and your supplies.

Extreme temperatures, humidity, and insulin supplies don’t mix. It is important to always take precautions when packing up your insulin, test strips, meter, and pump. You should never leave supplies in a car or out in the sun. Heat can cause insulin to become ineffective and could also damage meter and strips causing them to give false readings. If you don’t have a cold pack traveling case now is the time to get one. Here is a great review article on several insulin travel bags. Always check the packaging of your supplies for proper storage temperatures. It is also a good idea to travel with extra pump supplies as sweat and water can cause the adhesive to be less effective.

Physical activity in the heat could cause blood sugar to rapidly drop. Heat can cause the blood vessel to expand causing absorption of insulin to speed up. Exercising or physical activity can have the same effect so both together can increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Always keep low treatments on hand such as tabs and juice. If you know your activity is going to increase more during the summer than other time of the year you may want to take to your doctor about adjusting your insulin to reduce the risk hypoglycemic events.

Last month we encouraged you to stay hydrated. Of course, hydration is important for everyone but a lack of hydration come with additional risk for those with type one. Dehydration can cause blood glucose to become more concentrated causing the number on the meter to rise. Always make sure you are drinking water. Remember that soda, coffee, milk, and sports drinks are not equal to pure water. High intake of caffeine and sodium can increase dehydration risk. For more tips on staying hydrated, you can look back at last month’s article!

Contributed by:
Carrie Claiborne 
Medical Coordinator 
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