Summer time is a fun time when we all kick back and relax. Some go to the beach, chill by the pool, or go on a tropical vacation. Though as a Diabetic, there is one thing that interrupts you having the time of your life in the summertime, and that is this (not so) little thing called Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes should not stop you from having a blast this summer and neither should it restrict the types of activities you do and places you go. Though there are some things to look out for so you can have the best summer ever, no matter what!
First? Insulin. Being the number one thing that you actually need as a Diabetic, it has to be cared for like no other. If your Insulin is sitting around in the blazing sun, it will go bad and will no longer be safe or effective for use, so always keep your Insulin in a cool setting such as a refrigerator or in a cooling pack. Same goes for your blood glucometer and insulin pump, as if they get too hot, they will not work until they cool down a bit. I would highly recommend having a backup blood sugar meter and a set of syringes, along with a vial of insulin, just in case your pump and meter overheat. When I was first diagnosed with Type 1, I remember how during the hot summer months, my blood glucometer would overheat, so I would stick it in the fridge to cool down faster, as funny as that may have seemed.
Always keep your Insulin in a cool setting such as a refrigerator or in a cooling pack
I have had days when I was out all day by the pool and left my pump on the side of the pool, which apparently made the insulin cartridge become warm, so when I went to take my insulin I found my blood sugars going high due to the insulin going bad in the heat. It’s all a learning process in which you have to go through some tough experiences (like your blood sugar going high or your meter breaking down) to learn how to plan for the worst.
As for blood sugar regulation, when the weather outside is blazing hot, that tends to make your blood sugar go high and stay that way until you cool down. My advice, based on personal experiences, is to stay cool and in the shade as much as possible. Always keep an eye out on your blood sugars as the day goes by just to make sure they are in range. Most importantly, drink plenty of water. I cannot stress enough how helpful water is on a hot summer day. If you do tend to go higher in the summertime, as everybody reacts differently, try these tips and tricks to avoid annoying Diabetic issues and spend more time out by the pool or chilling at the beach!
Going on a tropical getaway can also be fun and exciting, but remember to have a checklist of all the Diabetic supplies you’ll need to avoid any problems. It wouldn’t hurt to take extra supplies as well, just in case. Once, a few years back, my family and I took an amazing trip to Hawaii and I remember being so excited! However, the beginning of that trip was not fun at all as I had forgotten my Insulin back at home in California. Luckily, I had just changed my pump site the night before our flight and filled the vial of Insulin, which lasted me three days so I wasn’t completely out of Insulin.
It was a very stressful situation though. I was feeling like I failed myself and ruined the trip. Thanks to my amazing parents, who did everything they could to get me my insulin, there was a new order ready for pickup at the pharmacy in Hawaii as soon as we landed. Once I was reunited with some fresh Insulin, I truly was in paradise! Like I said, we need experiences like this to go through and learn from so that we can know how to handle practically any situation life may throw at us. Since that trip, I learned to NEVER forget my insulin at home and to always put that as number one on my list for all my Diabetic travel supplies.
So remember to stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay prepared to take on this hot summer! Enjoy it to the fullest and do what you love! Swim, surf, travel, you name it, because even with T1D, you can do literally anything you put your mind to!