Summer Fun

June 23, 2011 at 9:00 am | Posted in Health | Leave a comment
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sandcastle on the beachThe grill has been pulled out of hibernation and pressed into service for the first of many backyard BBQs.  Kids, reveling in their freedom from books and classrooms, chase after the ice cream truck as it makes its afternoon rounds through the neighborhood.  Yup, summer has arrived; time to hit the beach, drive with the windows open and spend time with friends and family on vacation or weekend getaway.  The start of summer is brimming with anticipation and potential for fun outdoor activities, but there are a few things to consider as you enjoy these fun and carefree days.    

The first and most important thing to remember is it can get HOT!  This may sound like stating the obvious but it’s very easy to underestimate the effect hot weather has on our bodies.  High heat and humidity make it difficult for the body to cool itself properly, a risk factor for developing a heat-related illness like heat exhaustion.  Warmer weather can also affect blood glucose levels, so you may find you need to test more often as the weather heats up.  You’ll also want to protect your testing supplies and medications (including insulin) from extreme temperatures—never leave them in a hot car or trunk when traveling—and out of direct sunlight. 

Dehydration also becomes a concern when the temperature rises.  We lose a lot of fluid through sweating, so stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day (stay away from caffeinated beverages and alcohol, though).  Also, try to limit outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day.  Exercising somewhere with air conditioning is best on hot days, but if you prefer exercising outdoors go out either in the early morning or in the evening when it’s a bit cooler. 

Beaches and pools are popular summertime destinations.  But while you’re cooling off by the water, it’s still important to keep your feet protected from sharp rocks, shells and other debris.  Wear a comfortable pair of beach shoes while walking and avoid crossing hot sand or pavement with bare feet.  And always, whether you’re at the beach or in your own back yard, wear sunscreen!  Sunburns can raise blood sugar, and blistered or peeling skin can potentially become infected.  Keep your skin protected from sunburn (as well as other harmful effects of sun) by applying sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 to any exposed skin before going outside (including face, neck and tops of feet) and reapply throughout the day, especially after spending time in the water.     

Hope everyone has a safe and happy summer!

(Information reviewed by MGH Diabetes Center)

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