When it’s hot outside, you may need to
make some changes to your diabetes management plan. Diabetes can change how
your body handles heat. This means that people with diabetes are more
susceptible to dehydration and heat exhaustion. Don’t forget that medications,
equipment and supplies can be affected by heat. Make sure you are taking the
right steps to manage your diabetes in the heat.
In hot weather,
glucose levels may be higher or lower than usual. When glucose levels are
uncontrolled there is a higher risk for dehydration. Too often we only drink
when we are thirsty. If you are thirsty,
you are already behind on fluids. In hot weather, drink on schedule--not just when
thirsty. Drink water, which has no calories and no diuretic effects like with
caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
medications are sensitive to temperature changes and can degrade and lose
effectiveness. Always check the bottle or package insert for specific
information about temperature storage guidelines. In general, oral medications
should be stored in a temperature less than 86°F. Insulin and other injectable
diabetes medications should be kept in the refrigerator until opened. Once
opened, they can be stored at temperatures less than 86°F for 28 days only
(some medications differ so read the box or vial). If you have to carry
medications with you in hot weather, consider a cold pack to keep them in an
acceptable temperature range. If your glycemic control gets worse, think about
if your medications were exposed to excessive heat.
test strips, and insulin pumps have temperature ranges for accurate
performance. Check your supplies and device for the specific temperature range.
In general, pumps and glucose monitors may not be performing properly when
temperature is more than 104°F. Don’t keep your meter or testing supplies in
the car—always carry them with you. Carry a cold pack with you for your device
and supplies if temperatures exceed the manufactures recommendations.
Stay healthy by
knowing how to manage your diabetes in the heat.