Tag Archives: hypoglycemia

Tips for Managing Diabetes in the Summer

diabetes family summer partyIts summer!! I mean it really is finally summer! Some areas have been enjoying great weather for a bit but where I live–well, I kind of wondered if summer was ever going to show up.   Now that it is really here, let’s talk about a few tips for managing diabetes in the summer months.

Keep your insulin and test strips cool.

Summer heat can literally ruin blood glucose test strips and insulin.  If you are on injections, make sure to keep your insulin stored in a cool place. If you are pumping, again, make sure that your pump doesn’t get overheated.  You may even want to consider changing out your cartridges more often to ensure that your insulin is fresh and hasn’t been compromised by the heat.

Test strips also react to extreme temperatures.  Again also make sure that they are stored in a cool place.  If you are traveling to the beach or theme parks, you may want to invest in a FRIO Insulin Cooling Pump Wallet.  They are convenient little cooling packs that will help to keep things chilled.

If you don’t have access to Frio packs, another great suggestion is to use frozen juice packs.  You can keep your supplies cool and are prepared for lows!

Mastistol and Antiperspirant are pumpers’ new best friends.

Summer often means swimming and swimming can mean chlorine. Chlorine can bring extra headaches for people with diabetes using an insulin pump in the summer. Personally,  the only way for us  to keep sites on in chlorine was by making sure that a product  like Fernandale Mastisol Liquid Adhesive was used on the skin prior to set insertion.

For people using an insulin pump and/or a CGM, you may also want to look at using an antiperspirant on the site.  Apply a light coat of antiperspirant (not deodorant) to the insertion site area.  This will help to keep sites in place when your body begins to sweat!

Have snacks everywhere.

Summer heat can bring its own challenges for managing diabetes. It tends to mean more exertion and rapidly dropping blood glucose levels.  Make sure to carry extra snack foods with you wherever you go.  One parent suggests that you stock up on Freezies.  They are perfect treats for lows and also help ward off dehydration.  Other families have suggested fruit and frozen grapes as must have snacks for on the go.

Drink lots of water.

Dehydration is a real problem in the heat.  It is especially important for people living with diabetes to stay hydrated because dehydration will cause blood glucose levels to spike.

Test often.

Heat, exhaustion and the fun of the sun can really mess with blood glucose levels so make sure that you test often to avoid any serious diabetes related emergencies.

Bring extras!

As I have said, infusion sets can fall out.  Blood sugar levels can go crazy.  It is vital that you carry extras of everything–extra snacks, extra water, extra test strips, extra insulin and extra infusion sets just in case.

Wear sunscreen.

I know, everyone is supposed to wear sunscreen so really is this a diabetes issue? Well no…and yes! It turns out that sunburns have been known to really mess with blood glucose levels.  The moral of the story? Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen to help keep blood glucose levels in check.

Have fun!

Finally, in Canada especially, we just don’t seem to see summer for long enough so plan ahead and enjoy all that this summer has to offer you and your family!

*please note that affiliate links have been used in this post.  While these links do not direct to the only places to purchase the highlight products, purchasing from the links does support the work of Diabetes Advocacy

Sometimes Your the Windshield

In honor of “throw back Thursday”, here is a post from June of 2009…

Sometimes you’re the windshield,  sometimes you’re the bug

Today I am  definitely feeling like the bug. It was after midnight and of course I was dying to  get to sleep. I set my alarm for early next morning…my boys’ last day of  school. I found a meter and a strip. I grabbed a lancet, waded through all of  the junk that my youngest son had left on the stairs to his room rather than putting away and was off  to test. One last check for a few hours. One check and I could sleep! We had  been out for pizza to celebrate good grades so I was sure that he would still be high. He had been 16 (288) earlier so I was certain that I was going to be able to rest.
Wrong! I  took the meter. I filled his finger with blood. The strip refused to suck. What  the???? Okay, I cleaned the finger. I got more blood. I tried again. It just  barely accepted the blood. I waited for the reading…E5. Error! Not enough blood. Oh the lovely four letter words that were on the tip  of my tongue as I headed back downstairs again. I would try this one more time.
New  meter. This one had to be better. New strip. Same lancing device. Back up the  stairs, this time grumbling and picking up items as I went. I threw the items  off to the side for my young son to deal with tomorrow and headed to his bed. Once  again, I lance his finger. Once again, I got a large amount of blood. The strip  sucked this time. I walked towards the stairs not even considering that I might have to  correct. Good thing…he was 3.2 (57)! More choice words as I shuffled off to get  some juice. I filled a glass, found a straw and went back upstairs for a third time in  less than five minutes.

My son was not keen on drinking. I finally got him to sip.  He drank t all except the last few drops which fly out of the straw and all over his pillow.  My cream pillow cases now have spots of red strawberry juice on them! I am choked. I hate diabetes.  I clean the pillow cases as best as I can and then I wait. Why are 15 minutes a lifetime when  you are dead tired and simply want this day to end?

Yeah! 5.5 (99) and I  was off to bed for two hours. Oh the fun! Oh the joys! Oh where is my DexCom Seven Plus????

Sleep Guilt

Do you ever feel guilty for sleeping? The other night, I was in bed and really wanted to roll over and go back to sleep. I am a night-time tester and have been since diagnosis. I know some people do not believe in a need to test at night and that is their choice.  For me, night testing is not a choice but a job that I must do to keep my son safe, healthy and alive each night.

I know how important this is to me.  I know that there are nights that I have woken up at unexplained times to find him low and dropping.  I know that I have checked at other times and found him high or with site problems that I was able to stop before they turned into ketone issues.

I am very conscious of how “lucky” I am to be able to test my son at night. I know that there are parents who have lost their children to diabetes that would gladly take my place for a few nights.

I should be used to interrupted sleep. I have not slept through the night since the before the birth of my first son.  He was a terrible sleeper who never slept through the night until he was six years old! Waking, walking, testing, and going back to sleep to do it all over again a few hours later should be habit and simple.

Despite all of that, I often feel guilty when I wake up and don’t want to get up.  When I have those moments of decision–when was the last time he was tested? What was his reading? What are the odds of there being a problem right now? Do I need to test yet or can I doze off for another hour?

Sometimes those questions simply make sense.  It may have been three hours since I went to bed but I know that my night owl teen has only been asleep for an hour and he normally does remember to test before he goes to bed.  He also knows to tell me if there is a problem before he goes to sleep. It may therefore be safe to sleep a little while longer. Sometimes, those questions are purely selfish. My bed is warm.  My body is in a pleasant state of relaxation and I really don’t want to disturb it. It’s at that point that I feel guilty.

Getting up is my job. It is not one that I would have chosen but its the role that I have been given and it is very important.  My son will sleep through almost anything except the worst of highs.  Some days I wish it was different but as I have said before, everyone has something to deal with.  This is our “something” and honestly, the alternative is not worth a thought. So I live with the guilt of sometimes not wanting to get up.  I push past it and do my job–the job of a parent of a children with diabetes.  fight the d monster

Opening Tablets at 2am could be an Olympic sport!

According to Facebook, I was not alone in my early morning fight with diabetes.  I noticed that many other parents spent more time awake last night than asleep thanks to the dia-beast!

Last night my son was the picture of health and fitness.  I could hear the weights clambering as he lifted and pressed. I watched him haul his body up and down on his chin up bar and tried to convince myself that I could do that if I really wanted to. As I headed off to bed, he sat at our table chopping fruit and adding it to his plain yogurt for a snack.

He had been high the night before but I was guessing that working out and low-fat foods were going to see bg levels in range.  Well, that is what I hoped but at 2am I woke up and decided to see how things were going. He was 5 (90).  I hate five.  It’s a beautiful number during the day and a nightmare in the early morning hours. I just never know which way it’s heading.

Last night, I was pretty sure that I knew.  There was still a little bit of insulin onboard and I was certain that he was going to drop. Just in case I decided to give him some glucose.  I love glucose tabs for just these occasions–a glucose top up. Its perfect for the times when perhaps a tiny bit of sugar is all that you need.

I dug around in my son’s room trying to figure out where he has hid his Dex stash this week.  It was in the chair beside his bed–under the blanket, the hoodie, the pillow and various other articles of clothing.  The next challenge was to find tablets. Every time I grabbed something it was a bottle of liquid glucose.  I finally found a small container of tablets which of course was sealed.

How the heck is a person who is low supposed to get into those things? They are sealed, stretched and locked up tighter than anything else! I remembered that there were scissors on a table in the room. I grabbed them, cut open the tablets and eventually was able to feed my son a couple of tabs.

I headed back to my room to catch up on 2am Facebook and Twitter.  After 15 minutes, I rechecked to see if it was safe to sleep. It wasn’t.  He had dropped.  I dug back in the stash.  It was time for a bottle of liquid glucose. He loves this stuff but once again I was faced with the difficulty of getting it open. I finally slid my nail around the neck, got it opened and convinced my still sleeping son to drink on demand.

By 3am all was good and I could go back to bed and try to sleep but I was still stuck with the thought of what if I was the one low?  Would I be able to open the tablets? How would I get open the bottles?

glucose tablets

I guess you have to plan ahead and have the seals broke before you go to bed or have someone else willing to crack them open for you.  Not good. Not good at all.

 

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