Published on 3 May 2024

With rising temperatures incoming for the summer months, Dr Mayank Patel, Consultant Physician in Diabetes University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and DRWF Editorial Advisory Board member, provides tips to manage your diabetes in hot weather.

What to look out for in hot weather and how to minimise risks to your diabetes self-management on holiday, or out in the sun.

Check glucose levels regularly, as increased physical activity and hot weather can increase the risk of hypos (hypoglycaemia, or low blood glucose levels).

  • Wear plenty of sun block (and a hat) to avoid sunburn, as this can harm your body and cause elevated blood glucose levels. This is particularly important if you have neuropathy and as a result have altered sensation, meaning that you may not feel if sunburn is developing.
  • Investing in good quality sunglasses is also important to reduce the impact of bright light on eyes, especially if known to have eye problems already.
  • Keep fluid levels up whilst avoiding excess caffeine and alcohol in high temperatures, as these can increase the risk of dehydration.
  • Take great care of your feet – don’t walk barefoot, particularly on hot sand and seek help early if problems arise.
  • Keep medication and supplies as cool as possible.
  • Extreme temperatures can affect insulin and other supplies, causing them to become less active.
  • Be “hypo aware” – carry extra supplies with you and be sure to let friends and family know how to respond if this happens.
  • Extra sweating can cause problems with wearable diabetes related equipment, such as continuous glucose monitoring devices and insulin pump cannulas. You can purchase stickers and adhesives which help them stay in place.
  • Be alert for signs of heat exhaustion. These include profuse sweating, muscle cramps, tiredness, dizziness, headache and/or fainting. Symptoms can be similar to those of hypoglycaemia.
Seek medical attention immediately if any of these happen.
Read more in the DRWF diabetes information leaflet Diabetes management when you are ill
To find out more and request a copy of the DRWF pre-travel checklist for passengers with diabetes click here

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