How to reduce diabetes waste

Whenever we have changed a site or try out a sensor, I have looked down at the pile of trash and feel incredible guilt. There seems to be so much “stuff” that we are putting in the garbage can. It can’t possibly be good for the environment. In an attempt to protect the world for my future grandchildren, I searched for some way to reduce our waste.  Here is what I found.

Buy in bulk

buy snacks for lows in bulk

If you are purchasing those travel sized packages of glucose tablets, you may want to consider buying the larger bottles.  You can also go to your local Bulk Barn or Walmart and purchase low blood sugar treats in bulk.  If you do this right after Halloween, you can usually score even more treats at a way lower price!

Once you get your glucose tablets or other low treats home, you can then break them down into properly portioned, travel sizes in reusable containers. Those old glucose tablet bottles can be great for this.

Recycle the cardboard

recycle your cardboard boxes

Test strips come in boxes. Insulin comes in boxes. Infusion sets come in boxes. You get the idea. There are a lot of boxes when you live with diabetes. The great news is that most boxes and paper inserts are recyclable. Simply break them down and place them in your cardboard recycling container.

Drop off electronic diabetes devices for recycling

recycle glucometers

Did you know that often your old glucometer and DexCom can be returned to a recycling depot? I didn’t! You no longer have to have a dead meter collection in your drawer because you worried about throwing them in the trash.  Most will be accepted by your local e-waste or e-cycling drop-off center.  If you aren’t sure of a location in your area, you can also go to Earth911.com for the nearest recycling location.

Reuse tubing and other “waste” materials

diabetes art

If you are using an insulin pump, you already have come up with some great ways to reuse your tubing.  Young children love it when you snip the ends off of infusion set tubing and then let them string beads. They can spend hours making cute bracelets and more!

If you don’t have littles around, don’t worry, for those of you who like to garden, tubing is perfect for holding up plants!

Test strip bottle and insulin vials have many uses in creative art projects. Test strip bottles can also be perfect storage containers for thumb-tacks and other small items. Think about all of those things that you used to store in film containers and now you can put them in test strip bottles!

Recycle

recycle diabetes products

After a bit of investigating, I did find that some diabetes supplies can be put in your household recycling bins.

Syringe caps can be recycled in areas that recycle bottle caps. The tops of the built-in inserters on inset®, insetII®s, mio®, Mio30®, Autosoft90® and Autosoft30® can also be recycled. Please ensure proper disposal of the insertion needles, however. If you use an OmniPod, you can take part in the Eco-pod program. It allows you to return pods to Diabetes Express for recycling.

If you are like me, you may still feel like there is a lot of waste in diabetes care but I was surprised to read a study that showed that there may not be as much as we think. A person consuming one soft drink or one beer in a can only every three days has a similar impact on the environment as eleven insulin pump patients using one infusion set each in the same time period. Let me repeat that….one beverage can every three days creates the same amount of waste as eleven pumpers who use one infusion set each!

A person using a tubed insulin pump in fact only produces the same amount of environmental waste as a person who purchases one cup of coffee per day. Mind-blowing.

As great as that makes me feel, by using the tips above, we can further reduce the environmental impact of diabetes waste.

What else do you do to reduce your diabetes waste?

The Signs of Diabetes. Do You Know Them?

I sat in the doctor’s office. It was a room that I had sat in many times before but this time was different. My son was laying lifelessly in my arms.  I was terrified.

We had been to the hospital for bloodwork and x-rays. He hadn’t stirred. I looked across the room and saw a poster that had probably been there for the past 10 years or more but I had never noticed it.  It showed the signs of diabetes.  I have never paid attention before.  It was a disease that happened to other people…until it didn’t.

As I waited I read….

Frequent urination

My son did nothing but soak his diapers for weeks. We were going through Pampers in record time and I had blankets on my couch because accidents were happening.

Constant thirst

We had been to the emergency room in the days before and they said that it was a good sign that he was drinking.  Even when he seemed too weak to get up, he could walk to the fridge and drink a carton of apple juice. They assured me that this was a positive thing.

Blurred vision

My son was 2 years old.  He spent most of his time in my arms. I had no idea if his vision was blurred.  He had no way to tell me either.

Fatigue

My son slept all of the time.  He was sick.  I knew that much.  Sleep was a good thing for a little boy who wasn’t feeling well.

Unexplained Weight-loss

My son had always been tiny.  He hadn’t been eating a lot. He was slight but that was to be expected.

Fruity breath

My son had sweet little boy breath.  I didn’t know that there was anything else that could possibly be going on.

Thrush or other yeast infections

This was a warning sign.  Why did a two-year-old have thrush? The emergency room doctor didn’t offer any explanation.  He simply gave us antibiotics.

I didn’t know the symptoms. I didn’t know that warning signs and neither did the ER doctor. It almost cost my son his life.

Know the signs.  Share them with others.  Together we can save lives. signs and symptoms of diabetes

How to manage airport security with an insulin pump and CGM

traveling with your insulin pump and CGMIn May of 2012, after reading about a friend having problems getting their insulin pump through security at a US airport, I did some research on the subject.  Should you put your pump through the x-ray machine? Can you wear your CGM through a full-body scanner? There were a lot of questions in 2012 and there still are in 2018 so I reached out to a few friends in the industry to see if things have changed at all.  Here is what you need to know when you are traveling with an insulin pump or CGM.

If you wear a Dexcom®

The Dexcom® G5 is cleared to take through metal detectors, be hand-wanded and be worn during flights. There are a few situations to be concerned about, however.

NEVER put your receiver or extra sensors through an x-ray machine.  Ask the security personnel to do a hand-check of the items to avoid permanent damage of these devices.

According to Dexcom®, the effects of full body scanners on CGM components have not been studied. It is therefore recommended that you do not take your Dexcom® through one.

Once you are through security and on your plane waiting for takeoff, make sure to set your app to airplane mode, keeping the bluetooth on and leave your receiver turned on.

If you use FreeStyle Libre

The Dream Big Travel Far blog contacted the people at FreeStyle and asked what the guidelines were for air travel with the Libre.  This is what they reported.

“We recommend the user notify security personnel when going through airport security screening. the user can go through X-ray machines while wearing a sensor. We recommend the reader be powered off during a flight and not used for scanning a sensor. However, the strip port on the reader can be used to take blood glucose or ketone readings during flight. Turning on the reader with the Home Button will activate the radio. The user must turn on the reader by inserting a test strip so as to not activate the radio.”

If you wear an Omnipod

Good news for Omnipod users! You can wear the pod through the metal detector, x-ray machines and full body scanners with no worry.  The PDM can also go through the X-ray. Insulet does recommend that if you are selected for a “pat down” you disclose that you are wearing the pod.

If you wear a Medtronic® insulin pump

Medtronic® insulin pumps can be worn through metal detectors and be wanded.  They should NOT be sent through x-ray machines however.

Medtronic® also notes that your sensor and transmitter must be removed if you are going through a full-body scanner. If you do not want to remove your sensor, you can ask to be pat down instead.

If you wear an Animas® insulin pump

A detailed list of where you can and cannot wear your Animas® pump can be found in my May 2012 post.

Animas® insulin pumps can be worn through metal detectors and can be wanded.  They should NOT be sent through x-ray machines.

Animas® pumps should not be worn through full-body scanners.

Click here for more tips on traveling with diabetes!

Summer Vacation and Shared Parenting

Shared parenting for your child with diabetes in the summerIn June of 2011, I was stressing out. My son was finishing up the school year and preparing to head away for a few weeks with his father.  His care was notoriously lacking when he went away.  I was stressed to the max.

His insulin needs were less and less. Despite my best efforts at reducing carb to insulin ratios and turning down basal rates, he was still going low.  I wasn’t sure how I would handle it.

You can read all about it here

But guess what? We survived. He did and I did.  He was 13.  The burden of care fell 80% to himself.  His father and brother helped out with site changes.  His father did some of the night-testing.  I worried and learned to live without diabetes for a few weeks but we survived!

Here are a few things that helped deal with shared parenting a child with diabetes.

Two types of calls

We had two types of conversations. “How are you? Are you having fun?”, was the first call. This was the start of all conversations.  Diabetes could not take a front seat unless there was an emergency.  He had to be a child first.

At a set time, however, was the second type of call.  This was a diabetes conversation.  This involved having a meter out,  sharing readings, what he was doing and why a high or low could have occurred. These were strategy sessions…and much shorter than a regular call.  My son didn’t want to be bothered by mom’s nagging or diabetes but he also knew that it had to be done. My concession was to make it short.  I gathered data quickly and offer suggestions.

Seven years later, parents can now get real-time data through sharing apps on the Dexcom and there are even a few hacked Libre sharing programs that can be used.  This can definitely help to ease a parent’s mind but remember not to become obsessed by the numbers. This leads us to another thing that can be hard to remember.

Different doesn’t mean bad

I think that this can be the greatest challenge when joint parenting a child with diabetes.  Whether you are divorced, separated or living in the same household, often there can be different opinions on diabetes care.  A reading that you feel is high and needs immediate attention may a number that someone else is okay with because they know that there is a very active afternoon planned.

Try not to freak out every time the other person does it differently.  Different means just that…not the same way you would handle it.  The biggest rule is “does different endanger the life of your child?” If not then bite your tongue, let your child enjoy their time with the other parent and say a quiet prayer of gratitude when your child comes home healthy and happy.

Adjust basals accordingly

When my son would spend time with his father, he would spend most of his time on the go.  He would be catching up with old friends. He would be on quad or spending the day at the beach. There would be late nights and later mornings.

Before he would go away, I would make small tweaks to his basal rate to allow for an increase in daily activity and a decrease in morning activity. I allowed him to run a little higher than I would if he was with me because I also knew that he wouldn’t test or correct as often as he would if Mom was there to ask “did you check lately?”

Take some time for you

As much as you will stress and worry, this is your time off.  Diabetes has left the building.  Allow yourself to rest and regroup.  Spend some time with yourself.  Enjoy restful nights.  Read a book.  Go out with friends.  Do anything that makes you truly happy because no matter how you feel about the child’s other parent…that parent loves your child as well.  They will do their best to take care of your child and leave he/she with great summer memories so make some awesome memories of your own.

When you are reunited with your child, you will both be ready and recharged for all that diabetes throws at you!

 

An Overview of BC’s New Insulin Pump Program

BC insulin pump program expandsThe internet has been abuzz. The provincial government of BC lived up to an election promise by removing the cap on its insulin pump program. There was celebrating in the streets…until the fine print of the new program was read.

You see, this program will be unlike any other program in the country.  It will be a two-tiered program that seems to favour one insulin pump company over the others.

The issue is complex and very emotionally charged. Let’s take a closer look and you can decide for yourself if this is a step in the right direction or a step on a new and slippery path.

No more age cap

This is big news.  Adults no longer have to pay for their insulin pump out of pocket if they don’t have private insurance.  One pumper I spoke with as spent almost $20,000 to purchase insulin pumps over the past 15 years.  That is a lot for an individual to come up with every 5 years.  It is not surprising that she sees this as a welcome relief!

A two-tiered program

This is the news that has some people scratching their heads and wondering if this is such a good program after all.

All residents with diabetes will be eligible for an Omnipod insulin pump and supplies under tier one.  There will be no deductible for this system.

If you do not want this insulin pump system and feel that a Medtronic insulin pump would be better suited for your needs, you will have to convince your doctor of this as well.  Under tier two, a portion of your insulin pump and supplies will be covered if your physician prescribes a tubed (Medtronic) insulin pump.  If you simply want to own a tubed pump but your doctor does not deem it medically necessary, you will have to pay all costs out of pocket.

You can read all of the details on the BC government website here.

A pump is better than no pump

There is a school of thought that any pump is better than no pump and I can agree with that.  If you want to use an insulin pump, then this is a fabulous option if you have no coverage. You can also work with your doctor to attempt to get some relief on a tubed insulin pump if that is your preference.

It’s a win for the little guy

Some people are claiming that this is a huge coup for the little guy.  The small insulin pump company Insulet is the preferred insulin pump for the province.  That is rather significant I will agree.

It’s a start

One thing that I always tell people who ask me for tips on advocacy is to think of their “ask” as a cookie.  Every piece of the cookie that you get is a step forward.  Often you don’t get the entire “ask” (cookie) at one go so you keep asking.  You keep enjoying each bite, knowing that you are working towards having that entire cookie.

Conclusion

For residents of BC, this is another step towards the ultimate cookie. There were pumps for kids. There were pumps for adults up to age 25 and now there are Omnipods for anyone who wants them and assistance on tier two, tubed pumps.  It another step towards the goal of coverage for everyone regardless of age who wishes to use a sensor-augmented insulin pump.

Congratulations BC residents on your new insulin pump program!

Why we need choice

choice is importantWhen I first decided to put my son on an insulin pump I was overwhelmed by the choices.  I wasn’t sure exactly what we needed in an insulin pump but I could get one from Roche or a different one from Animas.  There was one from Medtronic and there was a new pump in town, called Cozmo. Four choices to consider.

How was I going to decide?

With the help of friends! I was part of an incredible online email list that told me which pump they preferred.  I also talked sales reps who quickly became friends! They were all wonderful.  They guided me and told me which questions to ask…both of pump companies and of myself.

How much insulin did we need?

Well back then my son was only 5 and I was throwing out insulin on a regular basis so reservoir size wasn’t much of a concern. I would only fill as much as we would need between site changes.

Did we need reminders?

Heck yes! I had two young children and was very active in their lives.  There was no such thing as a continuous glucose monitor so I was up at all hours testing, correcting, and treating.  I had trouble remembering my name. I desperately needed a reminder of things like site changes and missed boluses.

Did we need more than one basal pattern?

Granted my son wasn’t working shifts at that point in his life but he was beginning his school career.  That meant gym days and sleep in days and hours upon hours of outside play days.  A pump that could switch gears and change patterns based on the day of the week was a definite benefit.

My son was 5 when I began researching his first insulin pump.  He needed a pump that would administer tiny amounts of insulin…much smaller than he would ever use now. That was 15 years ago however, now his needs have changed a lot.

Fifteen years later…

He still needs reminders. He hates carrying anything extra so the more compact the pump the better  He works shifts and is up at odd hours.  A pump that makes basal switches like his very first pump did would be ideal.  He uses a lot more insulin at 20 than he did when he was 5.  A 300 unit reservoir is a must.

This is 2018 however and not 2003.  He can no longer choose a Roche pump or even the AccuChek brand.  He can’t get a new Cozmo because they left the market one insulin pump life ago.  He likes his Animas pump but that is now out of warranty. He is left with two choices…sort of.

He could try an OmniPod but he really doesn’t like them. Yes, he has seen them.  He knows that they are much smaller but they aren’t for him.

That leaves him with a Medtronic pump.  He doesn’t want that either.  It also doesn’t work with the Dexcom that he plans to use for work.

Neither pump fits his lifestyle.  Neither of these insulin pumps have all of the features that he wants and needs.

What does this mean for my son?

It means that he waits.  He still has a working Animas pump and cartridges.  He has two old Cozmo insulin pumps and a few boxes of old cartridges for them.  He won’t rush to get a new insulin pump.  He will make do for the moment and wait for there to be more choices on the market,

Everyone who lives with diabetes deserves choice.

No two people with diabetes are the same.  Even the same person with diabetes will have different needs in an insulin pump over time,  This is why they need choice,  Diabetes is not a one size fits all disease. Every person needs to tailor their care to fit their life at that point in time.

As a wise person with diabetes once said…”Having diabetes is not my choice.  How to manage it should be.”

 

 

Fit with Diabetes eBook Review

Cristel OerumRecently I was given the privilege of being asked to review Christel Oerum’s new fitness book.  I was both honoured and excited.  My son has been big into fitness since he was in his early teens.  The idea of learning a few tips from this fitness guru that I could share with him led me to open up the book soon after it landed in my inbox!

In keeping with the book’s fitness theme, I read this book while on my treadmill.  It made me feel slightly better when I saw images of the toned and amazing Christel staring back at me.  I am nowhere near her fitness level but at least I was trying and her book tells you how to do just that…try…and succeed!

Christel offers amazing tips, tricks, and recipes that make you drool!  She shows you how to set achievable smart goals that lead you to your ultimate goal.  Smart goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

From the very beginning, Christel offers great advice like looking at why you are excited about your goal.  She reminds you not to focus on what you don’t like. Don’t focus on being out of shape or carrying around that extra weight but rather how great you are going to feel instead!

Fit with Diabetes also offers valuable, usable tips for people no matter what their fitness level who may be struggling to manage their diabetes care. 

As I said, my son has been big into fitness for years.  There is a huge collection of dumb bells in his room.  He heads over to the gym whenever he can.  I was, therefore, taking a lot of notes when Christel discussed weight training and how different exercises impact blood glucose levels differently. My son had told me something similar.

He saw different bg levels after leg day versus when he had an ab day for example.  Christel tells you how to use this information to your advantage!

One of the things that amazed me the most and made me go “Of course!” was the idea of using the dawn phenomenon to your advantage.  She gives you an effective way to deal with morning spikes through exercise.  You really want to check this out!

As I said,  Fit with Diabetes can easily be your personal trainer if you are not in the position to invest in one just yet.  Christel shows you real examples of how people on pumps and injections are managing their diabetes care while exercising.  She shows you exercises that you can do at home or at a gym and how to put them together into your own personal fitness routine.

I was equally impressed by Christel’s no-nonsense approach to diet and exercise in general.  She never gives you a “diet” to stick to.  She offers suggestions on what a healthy meal should contain.  In Fit with Diabetes, Christel provides formulas and apps for you to use to create the menu plan that fits you! I am the world’s pickiest eater but after looking at some of Christel’s prepared meals, I was drooling!

Finally, Christel reminds us of the reality of weight loss.  Many of us, myself included, get hung up on the numbers. We want our scale to say this weight or that.  Christel promotes a healthy body weight and a positive self-image.  Muscle weighs more than fat.  You may be getting toned and building beautiful muscle without seeing the scale heading the way you expect…and that is okay!

I loved this book. It was easy to read.  The concepts are easy to follow.  I was however starkly reminded how different it is for me to jump on my treadmill with my perfectly functioning pancreas than it is for my son to do the same with his flaked out pancreas.

This book gave me a renewed respect for everyone who is living with diabetes and working to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  It isn’t easy but Christel shows you that it is attainable with a little guidance and dedication!

To purchase your own copy of Christel Oerum’s Fit with Diabetes, you can go to her website at https://diabetesstrong.com/fit-with-diabetes/

Christel is a Los Angeles based blogger, certified personal trainer, and diabetes advocate. She has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1997 and at an early stage decided that it wasn’t going to slow her down. Her motto is “There is Nothing You Can’t do With Diabetes”. She writes about how to be Fit With Diabetes on DiabetesStrong.com. She also coaches people with diabetes from across the globe, online and in person, and supports them in meeting their health and fitness goals.
Christel holds an MBA in Finance & Strategy and an ISSA Personal Trainer certification with specialization in Fitness and Diabetes (Level 3 certified from the Diabetes Motion Academy). You can find her on Facebook  @DiabetesStrong and Instagram
@DiabetesStrong_IG /

 

 

18 years of life with type 1 diabetes

18 years have passed and still, I remember it like it was yesterday. March 17, 2000.

The day started out sunny but by the end of it a horrible storm would hit my world and nothing would ever be the same.

We drove through a raging snowfall to take my lifeless 2-year-old son to the hospital.  There we were told that he had Type 1 diabetes.  They would monitor him for the next 24 hours to see if he would live or not.

Thankfully he survived that day but the fear never left me.   Before we left the hospital I was terrified of taking him home. I worried that I would make an error in his insulin and cost him his life.

When we got home, I did make mistakes.  Because he was so young, he didn’t know how to tell me if he was high or low. We didn’t have continuous glucose monitors then either.  If he fell asleep, I would panic.  The meter would be taken out before anything else.  I would clean his tiny finger, get a drop of blood almost as big as the pad of that finger, and apply it to a test strip.  30 seconds later I would finally learn if he was low or simply a toddler in desperate need of a nap.

Over the years he would learn to tell me if he was high or low.  His attitude would sometimes tell the tale for him.  When he short tempered…and trying to kill his brother by throwing things at his head, he was definitely high!

Eventually, he learned how to tell if he was low.  He would come to me and say he felt “weazy” and needed some juice.

We moved from injections to an insulin pump by the time he was 5.  My family couldn’t handle seeing him sitting by himself eating meals at set times when there was a better way. They helped us to pay for that first Cozmo insulin pump.

Our life was changed when his pump arrived.  No longer did we have to deal with 6-8 injections per day.  I was able to allow him to graze.  This was an incredible freedom for a small child…and mom.

Puberty came with its own challenges.  The teen years were much like those of children without diabetes.  There were good times and bad.  Somehow we made it out alive and that is more than can be said for some children with diabetes.

My son is now 20 years old.  He has lived with diabetes for 90% of his life.  That makes me want to cry.  90% of his life has been dealing with injections, infusion set pokes. finger lancing, carb counting, high blood sugars and lows.  He has learned how to workout while managing diabetes  He goes out with his friends at night and as a few drinks all while dealing with insulin, test strips and diet.

My son works in the construction industry and must keep his pump warm when temperatures dip below 30C.  He manages to test and combat lows all while wielding a hammer and trying to get his work done.

He lives thousands of miles away.  His roommate has known him his entire life.  They watch out for each other.  He knows about my son’s “broken pancreas”.  I wish that neither of them ever had to learn what diabetes was or how to handle it but life had other plans.

18 years.  It amazes me and saddens me.  I am so blessed to have a strong, young man who is still doing so well after all of these years.  It fills me with gratitude to think of all of the love and support that has guided me on this journey.  I still wish that he didn’t have to be on it.  I can’t believe that 18 years have passed already.

18 is just a small blip in his life.  I look forward to watching the next 18 years and another 18 after that.  Who knows what technology will have in store for him then.  Perhaps he will live to say “I used to have type 1 diabetes but now I don’t”.  I certainly hope so.

What a parent of a person with diabetes wants their child’s significant other to know

As a parent, there are certain things that I want my son’s significant other to know about diabetes.  My son’s list of important qualities and things that she needs to know is probably quite different.  That list is for another time. This is my list of ideals wants in a partner for a person with diabetes.

I want her to know when my son’s blood glucose levels are out of whack.

In school, he often had teachers who just “knew” when he was out of range. I felt safe because they would make sure that he tested and took care of himself.  She needs to make me feel the same way.

I want her to know to carry glucose with them at all times.

A low blood glucose level can seemingly come out of nowhere.  My son keeps some treats on him but we all know how easy it can be to run out at the most inopportune moments.  His ideal partner, for me, would be a gal who recognizes this and carries a bag filled with candies easily accessible in her purse.

My son would be happy if she carried all of his supplies in her purse too but as I said, that’s a different wish list.

I would love to see his lifelong partner remind him to test at night or at least wake him when he seems restless and out-of-range.

My son doesn’t currently have a CGM.  He once relied on his mother’s inability to sleep to keep him safe overnight.  Now that he lives on his own, he wakes himself at night to test.  I know that he would love to have a break now and again.  A person who would help him at night would be a blessing for both of us.

I want to see his partner know how to help him on days that diabetes is too much.

As much as helping my son at night would be wonderful, we all know that there are days that we just don’t want to diabetes.  When he lived at home, my son would some days just simply hand everything over to me for a day and I would deal with it.  I would count carbs, bolus and test.

I don’t know if he would still want that sort of full-on break but I know he still prefers someone else to put in new infusion sets.  It would be nice to know that she cared enough to learn about his care and help him where he needed it.

I want her to know that diabetes is part of his life but it isn’t what defines him.

Finally, as much as diabetes can be overwhelming and time-consuming, it doesn’t define my son.  I would love to see his life-partner understand this.  I want her to love him for the incredible, handsome, quirky guy he is.

Diabetes is a lot of hard work.  I want her to understand this but not be deterred by it.  It will mess with their schedule.  It may impact his mood but he is strong and deserves only most loving and supportive partner.  In return, she will get a pretty amazing guy.

 

Hot Tips for Managing Diabetes in the Deep Winter Cold

winter tips with diabetes The weather outside is frightful! The temperatures are dropping and we are in the midst of deep winter cold.  Managing to stay warm can be a challenge on days like these.  How do you manage your diabetes as well? Here are a few things to remember…

Insulin freezes.

Insulin is liquid. It can freeze. Make sure not to leave insulin in your car.  When you are outside, keep it close to your body. This also means that if you are pumping, make sure to tuck your pump close to your body to keep things running properly.

If you think your insulin has been froze, throw it out! Don’t take any chances.  It will not work as efficiently once the proteins have been frozen.

Keep warm!

That means keeping your diabetes devices warm as well! I just told you to keep the insulin in your pump warm, but did you also know that your pump (like your phone) also needs to stay warm? Keep your pump and CGM under your winter clothing and as close to your body as you can.

If you are using a tSlim pump, watch for the low temperature warning on the pump.  This will tell you that your pump is not functioning as it should because of the cold.

Check your blood glucose level.

I know, you normally check but when it is cold out make sure that you still check…a lot.  Some people see their bg levels rise in the cold weather while others see it go up.  Don’t guess or go by how you feel–check then adjust with food or insulin.

Before you check, make sure that your meter is warm as well.  Glucometers function poorly below 40F (4C).  If you feel that your glucometer could be too cold, warm it in your armpit for a few minutes. It will quickly return to a functioning state.

Keep your hands warm.

It can be hard to check your blood glucose levels when fingers are cold and blood isn’t circulating properly.  Keep your hands warm and toasty to help making finger sticks a bit easier.  Wear warm gloves. You may want to consider using  mitts that have removable fingers to make it easier to check .

removable finger gloves for checking blood glucose

We found these gloves online.

Carry glucose that won’t freeze.

Juice packs are a handy way to treat lows but when you are playing in the snow, glucose tablets and granola bars are probably a better choice.  Also make sure to keep your glucagon warm and safe.  Frozen glucagon will be as useful as frozen insulin.

 

Winter activities can be fun but make sure you are prepared.  Follow some of these few hot tips and  enjoy your time in Mother Nature’s deep freeze!