Summer is a time when we all need to be extra careful, regardless of our age and health conditions. Heat can be devastating for our body, so it is important to know what to do during hot weather. However, seniors should pay extra attention, especially if they have health problems such as diabetes.
People with diabetes have difficulty handling hot weather, especially in combination with high humidity. This kind of weather can affect medications as well.
Here are hot weather safety tips for people with diabetes that should keep them safe during the summer months.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
To avoid becoming dehydrated, drink plenty of fluids—more than usual. Avoid sodas and beverages full of sugar. Also, don’t add sugar to your tea or coffee. Ask a doctor how much liquid you can have. Sometimes they limit the daily amount of liquid for people with diabetes, so consult them first before significant changes in your liquid intake. If they limit you, ask them what to do during summer months when the temperature is high.
Keep an Eye on Your Glucose Level
Blood sugar levels can be affected by hot temperatures. Test your blood sugar more often if needed, and consult a doctor if you notice it is above normal.
Take Care of Your Medicines and Medical Equipment
If you read instructions on medication packages, you have probably noticed they usually say to keep them in a dark and dry place. Keeping medications in the direct sunlight can make them unusable.
When you take medications with you away from home, protect them from heat. If you are leaving your medications in a car, make sure it won’t get too hot inside. Read the instructions carefully, and follow the steps to keep medications safe and usable.
It’s the same with insulin. Keep insulin away from the direct sunlight, and don’t leave it in a hot car. If possible, keep it cool when traveling, but never place it directly on ice.
See if your glucose meter comes with instructions. If so, there is surely information on how to store it when not using it. Check the instructions and see if high humidity and/or hot temperatures affect it. It is the same with insulin pumps. Extreme heat can damage them, so always place your insulin pump in a safe place. Don’t expose it to the sun and leave it in hot places.
Personally, I don’t like air conditioners. They artificially create a lower temperature and may cause allergies if they haven’t been cleaned for a while. However, an air conditioner is your friend on hot summer days. When the heat is unbearable, there is no better way to cool the room and yourself down. Use them, but don’t make a penguin heaven. Huge discrepancies between inside and outside temperatures are not good for your body.
Check the temperature for the next day and see what it will be during the day. If the forecast says it’s too hot, go out early in the morning or late in the evening. Avoid being outside during the warmest part of the day.
Here you can read more tips on how to protect yourself from heat stroke in summer.
Summer is great, but only if you take precautions. It is fun being outside when the weather is nice, but always think about the impact of hot temperatures. Seniors and people with diabetes should be extra careful. However, as you can see, these measures for staying safe won’t change your way of life. They will just help you go through summer without huge problems.
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