Family Living Focus: Diabetes and heat: Safety tips

If you have diabetes, be extra careful during hot weather. Temperatures of 80°F (about 27°C) or above, especially with humidity, can affect medication, testing supplies, and your health.

If you have diabetes, it is harder for your body to handle high heat and humidity. The heat index, which measures how hot it really feels by combining temperature and humidity readings, advises caution starting at 80°F with 40 percent humidity.

Here are suggestions from Center for Disease Control’s Division of Diabetes Translation on taking care of yourself during hot weather:

* Heat can affect your blood glucose (sugar) levels and also increase the absorption of some fast-acting insulin, meaning you will need to test your blood glucose more often and perhaps adjust your intake of insulin, food and liquids.

* Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to avoid dehydration. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages such as sweet tea and sodas.

* If your doctor has limited how much liquid you can drink, ask what to do during times of high heat.

* Check package inserts with medications to learn when high temperatures can affect them. Take medications with you if you will need to take them while you are away from home and protect them from the heat.

* If you are traveling with insulin, do not store it in direct sunlight or in a hot car. Keep it in a cooler, but do not place it directly on ice or on a gel pack.

* Check glucose meter and test strip packages for information on use during times of high heat and humidity. Do not leave them in a hot car, by a pool, or on the beach.

* Heat can damage insulin pumps and other equipment. Do not leave the disconnected pump or supplies in the direct sun.

* Get physical activity in air-conditioned areas, or exercise outside early or late in the day, during cooler temperatures.

* Use your air conditioner or go to air-conditioned buildings in your community.


Information adapted from article in Today’s Caregiver.Com Newsletter, May 28, 2015 — Issue #816.

If you would like more information on “Diabetes and Heat — Safety Tips” contact Gail Gilman, Family Life Consultant, M.Ed., C.F.C.S. and Professor Emeritus University of Minnesota at waldn001@umn.edu. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focusô information in next week’s paper.


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