Well, here we are! There’s snow on the ground. Winter is upon us. I’d like to say that I’m fascinated by the wonder and beauty of the crystalline layer, blanketing everything in a cold layer of clean white… I’d like to say that, but it would be total bulls&*t!
The arrival of snow meant that this morning required dressing in layers, cleaning snow off my vehicle and sitting in the cold with my son at his designated bus stop. Winter brings a number of complications with it; some medical, some mere inconvenience. So here are a couple of things to bear in mind:
- Cold weather will affect your blood sugar levels. A1C’s and blood sugar levels will rise without notice once extreme cold starts creeping in. This can be kept at bay by increasing the frequency of testing and adjusting your basal rate over the winter months;
- Most Diabetes equipment won’t function in extreme cold. Your glucometer and insulin pump won’t respond well and in some cases, may shut down if exposed to colder temperatures for long periods of time;
- Insulin CAN and WILL freeze. If you have an insulin pump hanging off your hip and openly exposed to cold for a long periods of time, it can and will freeze, rendering it useless. Guidelines suggest never allowing your insulin to get colder than about 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (the average temperature of your refrigerator. Frozen insulin should never be used, even once thawed. The damage done to the insulin will render it ineffective and/or useless;
- Prepare for delays. Winter loves to kick us when we’re down, and you never know what you’ll face when you’re out and about. Delays due to construction, running out of gasoline or getting into a collision due to slippery conditions may put you in a compromised position, requiring you to wait for a long period of time. Dress warmly, pack your vehicle with emergency supplies and carry a Diabetic bug out bag with fast-acting glucose, extra insulin and testing supplies.
Despite the enjoyment that comes from snowball fights, hot chocolates and the holiday season, keep yourself warm, safe and healthy in the coming months to prevent unnecessary complications. ☯