Play it safe in the heat

With temperatures continuing to rise over summer it’s important to keep yourself healthy in the heat, particularly if you live with diabetes. Here are our top 10 tips for staying safe when the heat comes in:

1. Dehydration can lead to higher blood glucose levels (BGLs) so drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Have a bottle of water with you and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

2. Dehydrated skin absorbs insulin more slowly. Try and keep your injection site close to normal temperature and stay hydrated.

3. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they cause dehydration.

4. Sunburn can raise your BGL, so wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat while out in the sun.

5. Warm skin absorbs insulin faster, which can lead to hypos. Remember to carry your hypo treatment with you. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are similar to hypoglycemia (dizziness, fainting, confusion, and for some people, excessive sweating) so test your BGL to be sure.

6. Store your insulin and medications in a cool place as heat can affect how well they work. If away from home, keep your medicines and test strips in a cooler bag.

7. Exercise early in the morning or in the evening when the temperature is cooler.

8. Sandals, thongs or going barefoot can increase your risk of a foot injury. To be safe, always wear shoes and check your feet at the end of each day.

9. Don’t forget the weather can affect your test strips and glucose meter. When exposed to extreme temperatures, they are not as accurate. Keep your testing kit out of the sun and away from hot spots like your car.

10. If you’re wearing an insulin pump, slip it into your pocket to keep it out of direct sunlight. Place less insulin in your reservoir and change your set more often to avoid it being affected by the heat. Sweating can also affect your infusion set, so check regularly to make sure it hasn’t come loose.

If you would like to speak to a Diabetes NSW & ACT Diabetes Educator call the NDSS Helpline on 1300 136 588

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