Pump Tips for Winter Weather

Pump Management and Personal Safety for Winter Activities

| Jan 1, 2005

Do you plan to go sledding, skiing, ice skating or snowshoeing this winter?

Is ice hockey your sport?

Is shoveling snow part of your winter workout?

Have you been inactive for the past few months?

Here are some tips for pump management and personal safety for winter activities.

Obtain medical clearance from your healthcare provider for any activities you plan to do. Shoveling snow can be dangerous for your heart.

Keep insertion sites secure. Use a skin-barrier preparation. If you work up a sweat during winter sports, the insertion site tape could become loose. To keep it sticking well, try using antiperspirant spray on the skin after cleaning the area prior to catheter or needle insertion. If you are not sure the antiperspirant will work for you, try using compound tincture of benzoin. Apply with a cotton-tipped swab, leaving a “target” area for site insertion. You might later need to use nail polish remover to remove the tape from the skin. Or Mastisol/Detachol (Ferndale Labs) or Skin Tac/Tac-Away (Torbot Group) can be used instead.

Pack extra supplies for site or infusion set changes, insulin and blood glucose testing.

Keep your pump and supplies warm and dry. Keep your pump and meter protected in a pouch or pocket under your jacket or coat and between layers of clothing closest to your body. Keep the tubing under clothing layers and away from any zippers that could cut the tubing.

Consider a lower basal rate. Use the temporary basal rate or use a program you have set up for exercise days. You can burn a considerable number of calories when you are active during cold weather.

Establish a buddy system. Never go alone if you are skiing or hiking. Have several friends or buddies carry extra supplies, including glucose gel. Be sure your buddy knows how to use your emergency glucagon injection kit to treat severe hypoglycemia. Also, be certain your buddy knows that insulin should never freeze.

Stay in touch. Cell phones or walkie-talkies can be useful. If hiking in remote areas, be sure to file an itinerary with family or friends and the local authorities.

Test, Test, Test!

Don’t forget to test your BG on a regular basis.

To learn more about winter sports and diabetes, contact the Diabetes, Exercise and Sports Association (DESA) and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Have fun this winter and be safe.

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