Summer is the time of year to enjoy being outdoors, go on vacation, visit the beach or just relax in the sunshine. With the arrival of high temperatures and humidity, people with chronic conditions have to be even more careful in the heat than usual, especially with diabetes.
Hot summer weather can cause dehydration very quickly. It’s important for eve-ryone to increase their intake of liquids, not just people with diabetes. However, dehydration can also occur when blood glucose levels are high, regardless of temperature, so when the thermometer soars, it becomes very important to drink a lot of fluids throughout the day. Water is best while avoiding sugary bev-erages, sports drinks and alcohol as alcohol can affect the body’s ability to regu-late body temperature. Dehydration can also be monitored by occasionally test-ing blood sugar levels. Carry plenty of water and snacks and remember to take your glucose meter with you! Always store your glucose meter, strips and insulin in a cool, dry place like a cooler when traveling or at a picnic. Lastly, exercise safely during summer in cool well-ventilated areas or when the temper-ature is lower in the morning or evening and always stay well hydrated!
If you have diabetes, you’re at risk of heat exhaustion, which occurs when you’re exposed to high temperatures for a long period of time and don’t replace the fluids you lose. Your body produces more heat than it can release.
- Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include:
- Cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
- Heavy sweating
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure upon standing
- Muscle cramps
If you experience any of these symptoms on a hot, especially humid day, it’s important that you take steps to avoid heat stroke.
- Follow these tips to cool down if you experience any symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- Find a cool, shady spot to rest, an air– conditioned building is even better.
- Rest on your back with your legs elevated.
- Drink plenty of cool fluids.
- Avoid alcohol, which can worsen dehydration.
- Take a cool shower or bath. You can also wipe down with a cool cloth.
- Loosen your clothing, and remove any unnecessary clothing.
If you do not feel better within one hour after taking these measures, seek prompt medical attention.
Summer Healthy Food Tips!
Summer activities and warmer weather are in full swing with people spending time with their families and loved ones outdoors at picnics, barbeques, baseball games, parties and weddings. With these activities comes a cornucopia of tasty summer food and treats which can pose special risks for those who have diabetes as hot weather and poor nutrition can sometimes make blood glucose harder to manage. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy nutrition program this summer.
- Avoid going to picnics and parties overly hungry as this may tempt you to overeat.
- Stick to a meal and snack schedule to keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable.
- Prepare meals that are balanced to sustain your energy.
- Eat lean protein or other protein-rich dishes along with healthy carbohydrates from fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Stay well hydrated with plenty of water and low-calorie drinks.
- Limit high-sodium food like hotdogs and chips, which can cause water retention and affect your blood pressure.
- Eat grilled skinless chicken breast, turkey tenders or lean ground beef.
- Always keep food stored at safe temperatures to avoid food-related illnesses that can upset your diabetes control.
Have a great summer and enjoy sun-filled days along with tasty, healthy and safe summer foods!