Coping with diabetes in summer can be a challenge. However, you can still soak up all the joys of the season by making some simple lifestyle changes and a few adjustments to your diabetes care routine.

Monitor Your Blood Glucose More Often

It's quite common for people with diabetes to experience low blood glucose levels in summer. When temperatures soar your body absorbs insulin more quickly, so you'll need to check your blood glucose levels more frequently. Speak to your doctor about changing your insulin dosage in summer. Also, watch your diet even more closely to help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Protect Your Diabetes Medications and Tools

Hot weather can breakdown insulin, and affect your glucose meter and test trips. Proper storage and transportation can help you to better manage your diabetes in summer. Store insulin in the fridge, and carry it in an insulated bag with an ice-pack when you're out and about.

Keep your insulin and tools away from direct sunlight and don't leave them in your car. Don't use insulin if it's cloudy, brownish, or sticks to the glass. On really hot days, put your insulin pump in a protective pouch.

Be Sun Smart

Sun safety is important for everyone, but when you're managing diabetes in summer you should take extra precautions. Too much sun exposure causes dehydration, which will raise your blood glucose levels. Also, if you have nerve damage, you may be less sensitive to the sun's hot rays or scorching sand at the beach. Apply a sunblock with at least 30 SPF or wear sun protective clothing. Try to avoid the sun during peak hours between 11 am and 3 pm.

Secure Your Infusion Set

If you're on intensive insulin therapy and use an insulin pump, it's possible for your infusion set to become loose when you perspire, making it more difficult to manage your diabetes in summer. To prevent this use a skin barrier such as Mastisol, Skin Prep or Skin Tac H to help the tape stick better.

Drink More to Avoid Dehydration

During summer's hot days you perspire more, which increases your risk of dehydration. Remember, you're already more likely to suffer dehydration when you have diabetes if your blood glucose levels aren't under control.

Limit your intake of diuretic drinks such as caffeine and alcohol, and fill up on water, diluted fruit juice, green tea, and lemonade made with natural sugar substitutes such as stevia. Watch for signs of dehydration such as cold, clammy hands, cramps, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea and excessive sweating.

Exercise Indoors

Physical activity is an effective, natural way to control your blood glucose levels and diabetes, even in summer. However, hot, humid days aren't the ideal conditions for exercising. A better option is to exercise in an air-conditioned environment such as your home or gym. You can also go walking or stair climbing in a nearby mall.

Swim Safely

Swimming is a great way to cope with diabetes in summer. You just need to take a few extra precautions. Try these recommendations from the American Diabetes Association:

  • Always wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace.
  • Check your blood glucose levels before you dive in. If necessary, take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. Because swimming gives your muscles a real workout, be sure to check your blood glucose again when you take a break or after your swim.
  • Keep snacks or glucose tablets nearby to take care of low blood sugar levels.
  • Always swim with a buddy, and make sure they know you have diabetes. Or, let the lifeguard know about your condition.
  • Drink lots of water to prevent your blood glucose levels from shooting up.
  • Wear sandals or water shoes to protect your feet and avoid injury.