The summer, a time to relax and enjoy the sun or time to stress a little more than usual about your type 1 diabetes? For me, it’s both. Historically my summers have included sleep away camp, family vacations, and daily trips to the neighborhood pool. These fun events have almost all been interrupted with high blood sugars, sensors falling off, and the stress that comes along with them. Summertime can easily turn into a T1D’s worst nightmare. From my experience, I have listed a few tips below to help you survive the summer (& thrive!).
Tips for Surviving the Summer
Adhesives: CGM (Continuous glucose monitor) patches and pump sites are not best friends with sweaty skin. If your Dexcom falls off early, try a new routine. Here’s what I do to make my patches stay the full 10 days (my last sensor lasted 18 days!!!)
- Wipe the area with an alcohol swab and let it air dry
- Wipe the area with SkinTac wipe and let dry (Amazon)
- Apply sensor/pod and enjoy its full life cycle!
Nailing my routine took a few trial and error runs but most things so with T1D. Don’t let yourself get down when things don’t work out perfectly. AND if your sensor or pod falls off early, call the company and ask for a replacement (most will do this for free)!
Routine: Summertime means traveling, taking a break from work or school (if you’re lucky), and being in a space without a regular routine. You may need a different basal rate for different times of the day. If you notice a pattern, do something about it! Make sure to keep your insulin out of the sun & don’t forget it in your car!
Weather: Not only will the heat mess with the adhesives we rely on to read our blood sugar levels and administer our insulin, but warm weather can also mess with the body’s absorption rate. iI’s important to keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels and adjust when you notice yourself at a different level than normal.
Travel: Traveling in itself is stressful, add on type 1 diabetes and that stress level triples. Make sure you bring a backup (at least one) of every individual item you could need on your trip (testing strips, sensors, batteries, etc.) You never know when a sensor will fail or fall off early. It’s ALWAYS better to be overprepared. Make sure to carry on ALL diabetes supplies when flying, put it in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you at arm’s reach. *** TSA will allow you to take juice boxes over 3oz. through security but they often require a full-body pat-down and have to test the outside of each juice box. Bring a doctor’s note as a backup and leave for extra time in case the line is long.
Life with T1D is all about learning. Every day I learn something new about my body and how it responds to the food I eat and the insulin I take. It can be exhausting but getting it right for even just one day can feel like a huge accomplishment, and it really is! Use the Type 1 Community. So many people out there have been there before us. Join Type1 Facebook groups and look for T!D’s on Instagram. Social Media is an incredible place to learn how other people are managing this disease. We are not alone.
HAVE A GREAT SUMMER !!!