Summer is in full swing and in between the pool parties and sleepovers comes a few obstacles for your T1D kiddos. Schedule changes, extreme heat, and an increase in activity can all affect their blood sugars.
So, what’s a parent to do?
According to the CDC, there are 210,000 children under the age of 20 currently diagnosed with T1D in the United States. You are not alone. While there are support groups and mental health resources for diabetics, we wanted to share a few tips that might help save your summer and give you a little peace of mind.
1. Track those numbers.
Sounds obvious, right, but extreme summer heat and an increase in activity can cause more fluctuations in your child’s blood sugars. You may find testing more frequently a must.
2. Keep your insulin cool.
Be proactive when protecting your equipment and medicines. There are cases and coolers you can purchase to keep your insulin vials or pens protected from the heat. Some cooler options plug into your car adapters to keep things cool on long car rides. Here’s a list from Healthline you might find helpful.
3. Get creative when staying hydrated.
The summer heat can cause dehydration quickly. If you have trouble getting your kids to drink enough water, get a little creative by adding in some fruit or sugar-free flavored drops. If you’re out and about, pack a cooler. No one wants to drink warm water but packing it on ice can improve your chances of getting them to drink more while away from home.
4. Pack snacks to manage low blood sugar.
You’ll likely need some meal replacements as your child’s blood sugar levels fluctuate. Always keep snacks and packets of Transcend glucose gel packs and glucose shots (available on Amazon) on hand no matter where summer takes you.
5. Traveling? Be prepared.
It can feel overwhelming, but traveling is good for the soul. As long as you plan ahead you can be swimming in the ocean or sightseeing in the mountains in no time. Take a look at some of our travel tips for diabetics. We covered traveling by air and by car and offer a few helpful app suggestions to make life a little easier. From tracking what you’re eating to organizing your medical records each app offers support for your unique T1D needs.
6. Consider a summer camp.
The Diabetes Education & Camping Association (DECA) has a Find a Camp tool to locate summer camps focused on providing kids with the diabetes management tools they need to thrive. Camps are focused on providing motivation and support, as well as acceptance, understanding, excitement, and adventure. All camps are fully staffed with physicians, nurses, dietitians, and trained counselors. What better way to combine education with some fun!
7. Remember to breathe.
Ok so this one is more about you and less about your child but if you’re not taking a moment to ground yourself and de-stress, your child will feel it. Take the time to breathe, destress and have some fun. After all, summer is time to unwind whenever possible.
Beating the heat with Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes and the grueling summer heat don’t always mix well, especially for kids. We know your job is not an easy one when it comes to parenting your T1D child. You have obstacles and worries many other parents do not have but with a little preplanning and organization, your kids can enjoy being kids in these wonderful summer months.
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Disclaimer: THIS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS A MEDICAL ADVICE. For those with existing medical conditions, those who are taking medications, or are uncertain about any information we share, proper consultation with your trusted physician is strongly recommended.