DIABETES AND HEAT
Prepare for diabetes care in heat
If you have diabetes, you need to take extra care in summer, when heat waves can strike.
If you have diabetes, you know how important it is to have a care routine. Yet summer weather, with its high temperatures, can cause problems with that routine and make it more difficult to manage diabetes. Diabetes makes it harder for your body to handle high heat and humidity. You may need to make changes in your medication and what you eat and drink when temperatures rise.
Hot weather – temperatures of 80°F (about 27°C) or above, especially with high humidity – can affect medication, diabetes testing supplies and your health. Extreme heat is especially dangerous to people age 65 and older, children younger than 4, people with mental illnesses, and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes. In hot weather, people with diabetes should:
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to avoid dehydration. Don’t wait until you get thirsty; it’s a sign you’re already dehydrated. Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks 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 to stay hydrated.
- Know the signs of heat-related illness and how to respond to symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
- Wear sunscreen and use a, lip balm with sunscreen.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing.
- Check medication package inserts to learn when high temperatures can affect them. Take medications with you if you will need to take them while you’re away from home, and protect them from the heat.
- If you’re traveling with insulin, don’t 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 glucose 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 or in a hot car.
- Get physical activity in air-conditioned areas, such as a gym or do home exercises 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 to stay cool.
For more information on diabetes care in heat please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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