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Tips and Tricks for a Nice and Breezy Summer With Type 1 Diabetes

Summer is officially here, and for people with type 1 diabetes (T1D), this also means a lot of things to remember. Here are some tips and tricks for a beautiful summer.

COVID-19

As the number of people receiving their second vaccine dose keeps growing, the public health measures are changing accordingly. It’s critical that you keep following them not only for your own health, but also for the health of others.

If you have children aged 12 and older, you can now book an appointment online for them to receive a vaccine that has been approved for that age group.

Seven T1D to-do’s

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you manage your blood sugar during summer.

  • Stay hydrated

This might sound obvious, but it is particularly important in the summer heat. Not drinking enough water might raise your blood sugar, which in turn will make you urinate more frequently and cause dehydration. Drink water regularly to avoid this vicious cycle.

  • Check your blood sugar levels

Blazing heat, sunburn and spending more time outside can cause unusual blood sugar variation. Check your blood sugar levels regularly to get a clearer picture of how they are affected and what you can do to keep them as close to your target range as possible. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems are a good tool to help make this easier.

  • Slather on the sunscreen

While everybody must protect their skin from dangerous UV rays, it is particularly important that people with T1D avoid sunburn, which needlessly cause additional stress to the body and can provoke blood sugar spikes. Make sure to use a sunscreen with FPS 30 or higher and to reapply it every two hours and after swimming or sweating profusely.

  • Keep your (insulin) cool

Are you planning to go on a long car ride or spend all day soaking up the sun? Make sure to keep your pump away from the sun and to keep your insulin cool. Heat makes insulin less effective and can affect how the pump works. Did you know that there are tools that can help ensure this doesn’t happen? FRIO and GlucologyTM make cases that keep insulin (in vials, to be used in insulin pens or in insulin pumps) cold even in extreme heat. However, they are not a substitute for a refrigerator. They contain crystals that expand into a cold gel when immersed in water. The reusable cases remain cold for 36 to 45 hours. To reactivate the cold gel, the cases need to be immersed in water again for 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Keep your supplies away from the sun

Keep your pump, your CGM and/or your test strips away from the sun to avoid any damage.

  • Don’t forget the snacks!

With your blood sugar all over the place due to the heat and possibly a higher rate of physical activity (e.g., walking, swimming), beware of hypoglycemia sneaking in. When going on a hike or any summer outing, make sure you bring snacks and quick-acting sugar.

  • Physical activity, yes, but… when the time is right

If you do physical activity outside, try to go at dusk or dawn when the heat has subsided to avoid unusual blood sugar variation and undue strain on your body. Also, remember that even if you work out when the temperature is cooler, you can still sweat. Humidity can damage your pump, and sweating can make it harder to feel hypoglycemia.  

These tips and tricks can make all the difference and will hopefully help you to better tackle all the challenges that come with managing your blood sugar during summer. 

Feel free to share your own tips and tricks with us!

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