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Health Education

Dehydration and Diabetes: What Does the Hot Weather Mean for People with Diabetes?

Hot and humid weather can be extremely dangerous for senior citizens and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, heart conditions, etc. Learn more about how you can protect yourself from these extreme weather conditions.



March 6, 2017

Hot and humid weather can be extremely dangerous for senior citizens and people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, heart conditions, etc. In addition to concerns about dehydration, sunburn, heat exhaustion and heat stroke – people with chronic illnesses have to be aware of how the weather will impact their disease management. High temperatures can affect medications, testing supplies, and equipment such as insulin pumps.

As caregivers, we know the importance of health regimens and routines. Summer weather, with high temperatures and extreme storms, can play havoc on routines and make managing a disease like diabetes more difficult. DAH suggests creating a plan with your patients before an emergency situation arises to prevent a potential health disaster.

Here are some important things to discuss with your patients with diabetes:

  1. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water. Set up times and amounts of drinking water. Talk to the doctor about these amounts if the person has fluid intake limits.
  2. Check labels on medication, glucose meter, and testing strip to know which ones are affected by heat and humidity. Make sure to store those items in cool, dry areas (not on ice or in refrigerators).
  3. Don’t leave pumps, equipment or supplies in direct sunlight, in a hot car, or near water (pool/beach).
  4. Create an emergency storm plan:
  5. Make sure you have water available.
  6. Keep medicines together to grab easily if you have to evacuate.
  7. Have something containing sugar (ie. glucose tablets) with you at all times and know the warning signs of low blood sugar as you might not be able to check your levels.
  8. If you take insulin, ask your doctor during a regular visit what to do in an emergency if you don’t have your insulin.
  9. Pay special attention to your feet:
  10. Wear proper shoes at all times.
  11. Do not go barefoot.
  12. Check your feet regularly and get medical treatment immediately if you notice any injury however small.
  13. Stay cool:
  14. Only exercise in air conditioning.
  15. Know where your local community spots are with air conditioning so that you go to them if your air conditioning goes out.
  16. Always wear identification that says you have diabetes.

Discussing the above items and making a plan or writing a list for patients with diabetes will go a long way in protecting them during the summer weather. Being prepared will also help reduce your patient’s stress level if an emergency does happen.

Another important thing to do for your patients with diabetes (no matter what the weather or season)… Have a Registered Dietitian come into their home to provide Medical Nutrition Therapy. Don’t forget about this important part of the health care team!


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