We present tips for your diabetic patients to remember while traveling and dealing with heat and humidity.
Summer is here and it’s time for heat, humidity, and travel. When the temperature hits 80Â° and above and humidity goes over 40%, your diabetic patients, especially those over 65 years old, need to take precautions. The following slides contain tips for your patients to remember during this season.
American Diabetes Association. When you travel. 2 Jan. 2014. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/when-you-travel.html. Accessed 20 June 2015.
Centers for Disease Control. Prepare for diabetes care in heat and emergencies. 30 June 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/features/DiabetesHeatTravel/. Accessed 20 June 2015.
Diabetes UK. Hot weather and diabetes. 9 July 2013. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/About_us/News_Landing_Page/Hot-weather-and-diabetes/. Accessed 20 June 2015.
Road Trip Tips - Visit your doctor. Especially before a long trip, be sure your diabetes is in good control and request prescriptions for medications (in case of emergencies).Pack wisely. Bring twice the amount of medical supplies needed, remember extra snacks, and have medical IDs.Be vigilant about monitoring for any changes. Disruptions in eating habits and times can affect blood glucose levels.
Inflight Know-how - Request an aisle seat. If medical assistance is needed inflight, this provides easier access; restroom trips are also easier.Stay hydrated. Traveling in airplanes can cause dehydration, which can cause hyperglycemia.Check medical supply information to determine how high altitude and pressurized cabins may affect them.
Travel Advice - Insulin will be absorbed quicker from the injection site in warm weather. Be aware of hypoglycemia.Remember that stress and excitement can affect blood glucose levels; monitor accordingly.Perform extra blood glucose level checks at night; changes in time zones can affect sleep times.
Sun Safety - Wear sunscreen and footwear. With neuropathy, it may be hard to feel burning skin or hot ground.Think cool when it comes to exercise. Be active during cooler times of day or in air-conditioned spaces.Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, how to treat them, and when to seek medical attention.
Insulin Reminders - Keep insulin and monitoring devices cool and shaded. Coolers work well, but don’t place items directly on ice or gel packs.Check the appearance of insulin. If it looks cloudy or brownish, it has been damaged and should not be used.Monitor blood glucose levels more frequently and adjust diet and insulin accordingly. If readings are consistently higher than expected, make sure insulin is not damaged.