Summer with Diabetes
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Summer is right around the corner. Don’t let your diabetes stop you from enjoying the great season!  Use these tips to stay safe and healthy.
Diabetes and Sun Protection
  • Protecting your skin

Many of us like to enjoy the sun but no-one enjoys sunburn! Use a sun cream with SPF15 or higher. Between 11am and 3pm, make sure you spend time in the shade, as this is when the sun's rays are the most intense and most people burn. People taking oral diabetes medication should be aware that these tablets can increase sensitivity to the sun and should take extra precautions to limit overexposure to the sun.

  • Protect your feet from the sun

If you have diabetes, do not walk around barefoot as feet can burn or blister without you realizing it! Wear comfortable shoes that do not rub or pinch your feet as these can lead to blisters. When swimming, wear water shoes!

When out in the sun, check your feet through the day to make sure they stay burn and blister free.

  • Protecting your eyes from the sun

We should all avoid looking directly into the sun, whether we have diabetes or not. Diabetes can also raise the risk of diabetic retinopathy and so those of us with diabetes should protect our eyes from the sun to avoid any additional damage to the retina.

When picking suitable sunglasses, the NHS advises picking sunglasses with a 'CE mark', marked as UV 400 or that provide 100% UV protection.

  • Protecting medication from the sun

Exposing insulin and blood sugar machines (glucometers) to extreme cold or heat that can spoil insulin, and ruin glucometers. If you're using a device to keep your insulin cool, be sure it is a cold pack, and not a freezer pack--freezing insulin destroys its efficacy.

“It’s important to continue exercising over the summer because the effects of exercise training are rapidly lost once training stops — use it or lose it! Still, you can’t just ignore the heat because you could wind up with heat stress, heat stroke or other problems. So to keep the heat from melting your workouts:
  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Maintain hydration by drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water or Propel Zero) before, during and after physical activity.  Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, which dehydrate you!
  2. Exercise smarter, not harder. Work out during the cooler parts of the day, preferably when the sun's radiation is minimal — early in the morning or early in the evening. Decrease exercise intensity and duration at high temperatures or relative humidity.  And don’t hesitate to take your exercise inside, to the gym, the mall or anyplace else that is air-conditioned.
  3. Ease in to summer. Allow your body to adapt slowly to the heat by exercising a little more  everyday. “An increase in the body's circulatory and cooling efficiency, called acclimatization, generally occurs in only four to 14 days,” Franklin said.
  4. Dress the part. Wear minimal amounts of clothing to facilitate cooling by evaporation. “Remember, it’s not sweating that cools the body; rather, the evaporation of sweat into the atmosphere,” Franklin said. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton.
  5. Team up.  If you can, exercise with a friend or family member. It’s safer, and could be more fun!
Symptoms of heat exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, moist skin, chills
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting or both
Symptoms of heat stroke
  • Warm, dry skin with no sweating
  • Strong and rapid pulse
  • Confusion and/or unconsciousness
  • High fever
  • Throbbing headaches
  • Nausea, vomiting or both


Tips for Staying Hydrated
Daily water intake must be balanced with losses to maintain total body water. Losing body water can adversely affect your functioning and health. Once you start feeling thirsty, you've probably lost about 1% of your body water and are dehydrated already!! With a 2% water loss, you could experience serious fatigue and rapid heart beat or shortness of breath. The more you sweat and the more humid it is, the MORE hydration you need! 

As summer temperatures hit, here are a number of important tips.

  • Drink enough water ahead to prevent thirst.
  • Monitor fluid loss by checking the color of your urine. If it's pale yellow, GREAT! if it's dark, dark strong smelling or cloudy, your are DEHYDRATED!.
  • For short-duration exercise (less than 60 minutes), low-to-moderate-intensity activity, water is a good choice to drink before, during and after exercise.
  • If you are exercising for more than 60 minutes, use Propel Zero or G2 sports Drink. 
  • Avoid alcohol the day before or the day of a long exercise bout, and avoid exercising with a hangover.
  • Consider all fluids, including tea, coffee, juices, milk and soups (though excluding alcohol, which is extremely dehydrating). 
  • Eat at least five cups of fruits and vegetables per day for optimum health, as they all contain various levels of water and the all-important nutrient potassium.
  • You can also replace fluid and sodium losses with watery foods that contain salt and potassium, such as soup and vegetable juices.
  • To determine your individualized need for fluid replacement: During heavy exercise, weigh yourself immediately before and after exercise. If you see an immediate loss of weight, you've lost valuable water. Drink 3 cups of fluid for every pound lost.
Tips for Summer Workout
Watch Out for Low Blood Glucose
For More Information

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