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Diabetes Tips: Don’t Let Summer get you Off Track

separator Managing diabetes can be different in the summer. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Avoid getting a sunburn. Sunburn puts you at higher risk of infection. It also can create a spike in blood sugar levels, because your body is trying to recuperate from the burn.

Find out whether your medications make you especially sensitive to sunlight. Some common diabetes medications--glyburide, lipizide, tolbutamide, tolazamide—can make it even easier for your skin to burn in the sun. If you take any of these medications, be especially careful when you’re outside. Wear hats, use sunscreen, try to stay in the shade. In other words, do whatever you can to avoid the sun.

Avoid going barefoot. Even on the beach, it’s best to wear some kind of shoe instead of going barefoot. The risk of getting an infection is too high. Well-fitting water shoes may be a good option.

Don’t scratch the bites. Your best efforts at using mosquito repellant may still not be enough to keep you bite-free. Try not to scratch any bites you get. Sometimes, if you avoid scratching completely, the bite is very mild. But if you can’t keep you fingers away, consider covering any bites with a bandage, because scratching can lead to infection.

Make sure your picnic food is safe. If food has been sitting out for a while, it’s a good idea not to eat it. The last thing you want is to get sick from food that’s gone bad.

Keep insulin cool. Remember that insulin can become less effective if it’s exposed to extreme heat. If you like to be outside a lot, consider buying an insulated case for your medication.

Don’t let the heat keep you from exercising. If it’s a hot, muggy summer, it can be tempting to give up on your exercise routine. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself active. Swim if you have access to a pool. Try to do outdoor exercise in the early morning, before it’s so hot. Consider buying a piece of equipment that you’ll use inside, such as an exercise bike.

Diabetes Forecast, August 2003; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders.
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