Because temperatures are reaching dangerous highs this time of year, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Public Health is encouraging people with diabetes to take extra precaution to maintain healthy blood glucose levels.
According to the North Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, at least 750,000 people in North Carolina live with diabetes. Managing diabetes is important in any season, but hot weather requires extra precautions. Time spent creating routines and preparing for emergencies is the key to a safe and enjoyable summer.
"Higher temperatures and the changing routine of vacation may make it more difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood glucose levels," said Dr. Ruth Petersen, Chief of DPH's Chronic Disease and Injury Section. "Increasing attention to diet, exercise, hydration and diabetes medication during the summer months can help prevent complications and hospitalizations."
The North Carolina Diabetes Education Recognition program, recently recertified by the American Diabetes Association, urges people with diabetes to follow the tips below:
- Travel - Shield medications and medical equipment from high heat and direct sunlight, and never leave them in a hot car. While traveling, store insulin in a cooler but not directly on ice or gel packs. Bring enough food and pack extra medicine in case of travel delays. Prepare for time zone changes before traveling by plane, and bring a note from a health professional to allow for safe storage of insulin and medical equipment in a carry-on bag.
- Food Choices - Limit sweetened or alcoholic beverages and foods with high sugar and fat content. High fiber foods such as whole grains and vegetables are great choices to stay healthy. Fresh produce is bountiful in summer and has high water content to help with hydration.
- Physical Activity - It is easier to stay active during warmer months, but be sure to take shelter from the heat during peak temperature times. Test blood sugar more often to account for any changes in physical activity and be mindful of foot health and hygiene, being careful not to go outside barefoot.
- Emergencies/Storms - Summer can bring storms and natural disasters, so it is important to prepare for power outages or other emergencies. Wear diabetic identification, and prepare an emergency kit with supplies, medication and non-perishable food and water.
For more information on Diabetes Self-Management Education Programs in your area visit Diabetes North Carolina online at http://www.diabetesnc.com/.