Protecting your health during the summer is especially important when managing diabetes. Summer means getting outside, relaxing out in the pool, grilling in the backyard, and making a trip to the beach. While the sun is a welcome sight after a dark, cold winter, the hot and humid weather that comes with it is a problem for many. People who suffer from type 2 diabetes may not be looking forward to the summer months because of the problem the heat creates for blood glucose. Studies have shown that emergency room visits by diabetics increase during heat waves in the summer months. Fortunately, there are many precautions that diabetics can take to prevent emergencies and enjoy the warm weather.

  • Stay Hydrated. This is an important tip for everyone spending time in the sun, but it’s essential for diabetics. When blood glucose increases, the body excretes more urine, which quickly leads to dehydration. To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water and caffeine-free fluids. Limiting sugary drinks like lemonade and iced tea and watching alcohol intake can also help in keeping the body properly hydrated while maintaining glucose levels.
  • Watch for Signs of Heat Exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is more common in diabetics and those with heart conditions, so being aware of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion could be life-saving. Dizziness or feeling faint, excessive sweating, cramping, clammy skin, headaches and increased heart rate are common symptoms of this condition. If you have concerns about heat exhaustion, avoid doing any physical labor or exercise outside without taking frequent breaks. Staying in rooms with air conditioning and fans can cool your body down and prevent symptoms from becoming worse.
  • Take Care of your Medication. Heat can also be a problem for diabetes medications. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) heat can be damaging to blood sugar monitors, insulin pumps, and other equipment. Take a look at medication bottles, boxes and equipment manuals for proper storage temperatures. Avoid leaving medications in a hot car or in direct sunlight. If you are traveling, keep insulin and other medications that require cool temperatures in a cooler to prevent spoiling.

Drinking fluids, being aware of heat exhaustion, and taking proper storing measures for medications are all helpful ways  diabetics can avoid a heat-related trip to a doctor. If you have other concerns about diabetes during the summer months, the staff at  Genesis Medical can provide additional resources and advice. Schedule an appointment at your nearest location and we will be more than happy to assist you.

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