Tag Archives: diabetes in the winter

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!


She Exposed her Pancreas to the Storm!


April 1 Mother Nature played a cruel joke on the area that I live in. We were subjected to an incredible amount of snow that just did not want to end.  I was not happy at all.

To make matters just that much worse, I actually had to go out in the mess and drive! I hate driving in snow. I hate having to worry about other drivers in snow. Basically I would much rather hide under the blankets until summer but despite my disgust, out into the not so lovely winter wonderland I went.

As I was cruising the city streets on my way home, I watched a young lady battling the elements to get to her destination. I was seated in a lovely four-wheel drive truck that was producing heat and warming my back with heated seats. This poor child was outside walking in the snow and the wind.  I shivered as I watched her.

When she walked in front of the truck I saw something on her belt. I looked again. There was no doubt. She had an insulin pump on her waist! What was she doing with her pancreas out in this weather? Wasn’t she concerned about the insulin freezing? I couldn’t see her tubing but I could plainly see the pump. It was exposed to the wind and biting snow.  That could not be a good thing. I was certain that having your pancreas hang out during a nasty spring/winter storm was not a good thing.

Despite my concerns, she crossed the street and my light changed. I continued to make my way home but I also worried about this girl. Did she have very far to walk? How long would she and her pump be exposed to the elements? Would she run high because of cold insulin?

I then began to worry about myself.  Why was I obsessed by this? Because I am a mom.  Because my mind thinks like that.  Because I worry…even about children with diabetes who aren’t mine. Oh my!