Adhesive woes, challenging lows, or stubborn highs can all get in the way of a fun day in the sun! Barbeques, swimming, yard work, and other outdoor activities pose certain challenges for people with diabetes.
Sweating, swimming, and hot temperatures can cause insulin pump sets and Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMS) to fall off before it is time to change them.
The extra energy your body needs to keep cool during hot days, especially with physical activity, can cause low blood sugars that can be challenging to fix.
A normal symptom of low blood sugar is sweating for some people. That symptom may be mistaken for normal sweating from the heat.
High temps can cause insulin to go bad or sensors to become inaccurate.
It can be challenging to accurately dose insulin for the variety of foods at a summer BBQ or a dinner out.
Extra sweat loss, not drinking enough fluids, and especially if blood sugars are running above target can all lead to dehydration.
>Does this mean no fun in the sun if you have diabetes? No way! It means you may benefit from a few tips to keep your health in check while you enjoy the great outdoors.
If you know you will be getting extra sweaty or are planning to swim, plan to use different than your normal amounts and types of adhesive. There are a variety of options to try out. What works for one person may not work for the next. Some common adhesives that work for many people include Skin Tac Wipes (available on Amazon.com), Medtronic’s Enlite Overtape, Dexcom’s Overpatches, and a nice variety of colorful or fun shapes and styles of patches. See a recent article from Diabetesmine for 8 Great CGM and Insulin Pump Patches for People with Diabetes
> Pro tip: If you try out an adhesive wipe or adhesive patch, also purchase an adhesive remover swab to remove it!
You may need:
to suddenly replace a pump site or sensor
a fresh reservoir, cartridge, pen or vial of insulin
more than the normal amount of low blood sugar treatments
extra fluids, like water, for hydration
>Keep your insulin, test strips, and supplies cool. Do NOT leave these important items in a car. Instead, put these items wrapped in a small towel in a Ziplock inside a cooler or protect them from heat another way.
Pause and Reflect:
Do your best to pause to think about the carbs in the foods you are eating. It may be annoying while everyone else is talking or playing a fun game of sand volleyball. Taking a moment to count those carbs, Google search them if you need to, can really pay off over the next few hours to help you have more energy to enjoy the rest of your day.
Take a moment from time to time to think about how your body feels. Do you need a drink of water? Should you glance at your sensor or check your blood sugar? Regroup, refresh, and get back out on that sand volleyball court!
Tavia Vital BSN, BA, RN, CDCES
Director of Intensive Diabetes Management
Tavia is a Registered Nurse, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, and Certified Trainer on most makes/models of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Regis University in Denver, Colorado after receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of Iowa. Tavia’s professional experience includes inpatient and outpatient nursing in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism, as well as a high-risk diabetes and pregnancy clinic.