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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.
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.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.