The weather is getting warmer and many of us are looking forward to enjoying life in the sun. However, it can be harder to control your diabetes in the summer.
Longer periods of inactivity in the sun can affect your diabetes control, making your blood sugar levels higher than normal. For those on Insulin, it is important to know that it is absorbed faster from an injection in warmer weather which can put you at risk of hypoglycaemia (hypo). But as long as you are vigilant about your diabetes control, then there is no reason why you can’t enjoy yourself just like anyone else.
As with any change in your lifestyle, remember is to check your blood glucose levels and adjust your insulin dose accordingly. Make sure you’re regularly checking your levels and keep a sugary snack to hand, just in case.
Everyone needs to stay hydrated in the warm weather, but especially if you have diabetes. People with diabetes get dehydrated more quickly in the heat. Not drinking enough liquids can raise your blood glucose levels which can lead to you urinating more, causing dehydration. Keep a bottle of water close by at all times, and drink regularly to help control your blood sugar levels.
The warmer weather can affect your meters and test strips just as much as it does you. Try to keep your meters and test strips as close to room temperature as possible and out of direct sunlight. (But don’t refrigerate them- the cold temperature has the same effect as warm temperatures against the meters and strips and can lead to misleading results.)
Insulin damaged by the heat will become cloudy. It can become grainy and sticky or maybe slightly brown (do not use insulin if it looks like this!)
Insulin is best kept in the fridge or a cool bag, just make sure it doesn’t freeze.
Always read the temperature guidance for your medication and test strips.
Apart from having to check your blood glucose, you’re no different to anyone else enjoying themselves in the sun. Just keep hydrated, make sure you’re regularly applying sunscreen to exposed areas and take regular shade breaks to avoid dehydration, overheating or getting heat exhaustion.