Seven Precautions to Take for People with Diabetes When Enjoying an Outdoor Pool in the Summer

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Seven Precautions to Take for People with Diabetes When Enjoying an Outdoor Pool in the Summer

Fun times are here for the season! These may include going to an outdoor pool to cool down. Presented are 7 precautions people with diabetes should take so they can continue to enjoy each and every day of the summer.


Avoid the sun at times when you are most likely to get a sunburn- In many parts of the United States the sun is at its highest at approximately noon- 1 o’clock.  At this time the rays of the sun will cause sunburn in the shortest amount of time. The day’s temperature peaks between 3-4:30. This depends on weather conditions. (1) Ask your medical health team what times of the day you should avoid the sun. This will differ depending on where you live.


Wear sun screen (also a hat, sunglasses and lip balm with sunscreen)-In addition to the usual reasons of protecting your skin to avoid the dangers of cancer, a sunburn causes damage to your skin. This is a type of wound. Your blood glucose levels may be higher when this happens. Take proper precautions to avoid burns. Ask your doctor for the name of products that you should look for.


Wear water shoes recommended by your health care team- This small precaution will help you avoid foot problems that happen when people with diabetes step on harmful items. Remember, your feet may be less sensitive and you might not feel a pebble, develop problems if you step on a small toy or get burned from the pavement.


Test you blood glucose frequently- Hot environments can cause more problems with hypoglycemia especially if you are on a medication for your diabetes that lowers your blood glucose. Your body’s metabolism is higher when the surroundings are hot and humid. Remember that sweating and a tired feeling are symptoms of hypoglycemia. Do not pass these off as just “being hot”. Test your glucose so you can treat lows as necessary. Make sure you know the temperature limits of your meter. Keep your meter, test strips and insulin in a cool dry special bag.  If your supplies and medication gets too hot, it may not work properly. Call your meter company and ask your pharmacist if you are not sure of equipment and medication temperature limits.(2)


Pack a snack- As seen with recommendation number 4, you can have more problems with hypoglycemia. Making sure you have a snack and necessary carbohydrates to treat a low. If you are on a blood glucose lowering medication, do not forget to test your blood glucose before you drive home. Having a handy snack may be just what you need.


Drink water-You need to keep hydrated and water is the best fluid for you. If you have any fluid restrictions, ask your doctor what you should do when the temperature is hot.


If you wear an insulin pump or special equipment- Find out if you can use them at the pool. Most insulin pumps and other special equipment are temperature and water sensitive. Some pumps need to be disconnected and properly cared for when swimming. They also may be sensitive and break when exposed to water. Find out what limits your equipment has.  If it is not suitable to your lifestyle, discuss possible options with your diabetes health care team.

Enjoy your pool time this summer. Take the special precautions that you need in order to be safe and healthy…Oh…if you see me, please don’t splash!