Summer is a time of fun and freedom for kids. Baseball leagues, beach days and seemingly endless days running around the neighborhood have kids hopping during the school break.
However, if your child has been diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll need to take some extra precautions during the longer, warmer days. Here are a few tips from our pediatric diabetes specialists on keeping your diabetic child as safe as possible this summer.
Summer checklist for kids with diabetes:
• Test your child’s blood sugar often. The extra activity of summer — bike riding, summer sports and playful games of hide-and-seek — can cause blood sugar levels to drop.
• Be sure they’re drinking plenty of water and other fluids. High blood sugar — be sure to watch the summer snacking — can make them urinate more, leading to dehydration.
• Higher temperatures can change how your child’s body uses insulin. Dress them in loose, light clothing, keeping them inside in air-conditioning during the hottest parts of the day.
• If your child stays up later during summer break, make sure they check their blood sugar an extra time before bed, adjusting insulin as needed to prevent a dip in overnight blood sugar.
• Since heat can be damaging to diabetes, don’t leave equipment or insulin in a hot car, by a pool, in direct sunlight or on the beach. Keep insulin and supplies in a cooler for safe keeping away from the heat.
• Get medical attention for heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Make sure they’re wearing their medic alert bracelet or necklace, if appropriate.
• Strong summer storms can knock out power unexpectedly or force your family to take shelter away from home, so plan ahead by packing an emergency to-go bag with room for insulin and other supplies.
With the proper planning and attention, children with diabetes can enjoy a safe, active summer.
• Children’s health is a continuing series. This week’s article is courtesy of Ascension Illinois. To check out more information, visit Ascension.org/Illinois.