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Effects of Extreme Heat on Diabetes


Hot weather can affect your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels and potentially cause it to rise or fall, resulting in hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. Here are some important tips about managing diabetes during extreme heat:

Frequent glucose checks

We recommend you check blood glucose levels more often during hot weather.  

Stay well hydrated

Proper hydration during extreme heat is very important. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks, coffee and alcohol.  

Avoid sunburn

Sunburns can stress your body and raise blood sugar.

Protect medication and supplies

Heat can damage insulin, test strips and other medications and supplies. Use a cooler bag to keep medicine and test strips cool while outdoors. Don't place insulin directly on ice or on a gel pack. Insulin vials and pens may be kept at room temperature. Never leave insulin, meters or strips in a hot vehicle!

Heat exhaustion

People living with diabetes are at an increased risk for heat exhaustion since diabetes can affect the ability to sweat. You can’t stay cool if you don’t sweat. Symptoms of heat exhaustion and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can appear to be similar. 

Symptoms of both hypoglycemia and heat exhaustion include:

  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry vision
  • Hunger
  • Feeling shaky and/or lethargic
  • Irritability

Insulin Pumps and Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM)

Sweat may loosen adhesives on your sensor or infusion set causing it to become loose or fall off. Heat can also damage insulin pumps and other equipment. Never leave a disconnected pump or supplies in direct sunlight.

Protect your feet (don't walk barefoot)

Walking barefoot or wearing sandals and flip-flops expose feet to potential injury. Always wear shoes and check your feet carefully at the end of each day.

Be prepared

Always carry snacks with you to prevent going low. Make sure to have glucose tabs or gel in case you do end up with low blood sugar. 

Stay safe & have fun!

Diabetes Education Resources