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Thursday, July 16, 2015

6 Ways to Enjoy the Beach With Diabetes

With summer upon us it’s important to remember that a diabetes diagnosis doesn’t have to stand between you and fun in the sun! With a little planning and preparation, your day at the beach can be relaxing, enjoyable, and stress-free.

1) Pack the necessary supplies

Once you’ve made it to the beach and found the perfect spot, the last thing you want to do is go back because you don’t have the supplies you need. Be sure to pack enough diabetic supplies such as insulin to last you your entire beach day, and pack more than you think you will use. It’s usually a good idea to plan for an outing that’s twice as long as you think it will be, in case of the unexpected. You should also ensure that the supplies you pack are kept cool and out of the direct sun, as sun and heat can damage sensitive supplies.

2) Bring snacks that won’t melt in the summer sun. Low glucose at the beach can be a bummer if the snacks you brought haven’t survived the heat. To avoid a wipe out, make sure you bring a quick-acting source of glucose that won’t melt or spoil, such as glucose tablets. Other good choices for beach snacks include dried or fresh fruit, trail mix, and popcorn.

3) Keep an eye on blood sugar levels while having fun

Walking on sand, swimming, and a friendly game of beach volleyball can all take a lot out of you, and that means energy expenditure will be high. Make sure you’re compensating properly for all the blood sugar you are burning with healthy snacks and proper insulin dosing. Remember to consult your doctor before engaging in activities that are particularly strenuous, especially if these types of activities are unusual for you.

Also beware of heat possibly compromising your insulin. If you plan on spending a lot of time in the sun, consider investing in a Tandem insulin pump. They are the only pumps with a temperature alarm, which will let you know if the temperature of the pump got high enough to compromise the insulin inside.

4) Wear clothing that will be comfortable for you and keep you safe

Some people prefer more revealing swimwear, while others enjoy a more modest look. Ultimately your choice in swim and beachwear is up to you. Whatever clothing you choose, make sure that it breathes well and that it is UV-treated to protect you from the harsh rays of the sun. If you do plan on getting in the water make sure you keep your glucose monitor and other devices safe from water damage.

5) Protect your feet

The summer sun can heat surfaces such as sand and pavement to a burning temperature. Beaches are also be strewn with sharp ocean debris, seashells, and other objects that can damage or puncture the skin. Make sure to wear shoes or sandals and inspect and wash your feet carefully after enjoying time outdoors.

6) Monitor yourself carefully and stick to your routine

It’s easy to lose track of time while enjoying your day at the ocean’s side. Make sure you eat on a regular meal schedule, test your blood sugar levels frequently enough, and stay hydrated. Remember that sweating and increased thirst can be evidence of changes in blood sugar levels, not just summer heat. As always, don’t stay in the sun too long without reapplying sunscreen. Keep these in tips in mind and your beach day will be a breeze!

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

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