Diabetes: Hot Weather Safety

Diabetes: Hot Weather Safety

When the days get hotter, keeping close tabs on your diabetes is vital. These tips can help you prevent diabetes-related problems caused by summer heat.

Drink plenty of liquids

Dehydration is when you lose a lot of fluid from your body. It can be a problem for anyone in hot weather. And if your blood sugar is high, your body loses more fluid in urine. This means you’re more likely to get dehydrated. Some diabetes medicines can raise your risk. So can water pills used for high blood pressure. Drink plenty of water and other fluids. But don’t have drinks with alcohol, caffeine, or lots of sugar. They can lead to more fluid loss.

Watch for heat exhaustion

People with diabetes are at risk of overheating. This is a higher risk when you work or exercise outdoors. Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting
If you feel this way, stop what you're doing. Move to a cooler spot, drink fluids, and get medical care.

Be on alert for heat stroke

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It's when your body overheats due to long exposure to heat or physical exertion in high temperatures. Heat stroke has these symptoms:

  • High body temperature (103°F/39.4°C or higher)
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Fainting (losing consciousness)

Call 911

Call 911if someone has the symptoms of heat stroke above.

While you're waiting for help:

  • Move the person to a cooler place
  • Help lower the person's temperature with a cool cloth or a cool bath
  • Don't give the person anything to drink

Store insulin carefully

Insulin can lose its strength when kept in very hot temperatures. This includes a suitcase, backpack, or the glove compartment or trunk of a car. Use a travel case with an ice pack to keep insulin cool on hot days. But don't let the insulin freeze. Keep the insulin out of direct sunlight.

To make your insulin shots less painful, some healthcare providers advise that insulin be kept at room temperature. This means 68 to 72°F (20 to 22°C). At room temperature, insulin will stay good for about a month. Mark your calendar or set an alarm on your smartphone or computer so you know when the month has gone by. If you buy more than 1 insulin bottle at a time, store the extra bottles in the refrigerator. Before using a new bottle of insulin, always check its expiration date.

Keep your glucose testing strips at room temperature. Keep the cap on the container. This will help you get the best results. Keep them in the refrigerator if your room temperature is high.

Online Medical Reviewer: Robert Hurd MD

Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN

Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN

Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2021

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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