July 1st starts out nicely; a quiet breakfast of hash and bacon at he table, kids are watching some froo-froo nonsensical bullshit on Netflix and my wife and I are getting some caffeine into our systems before making any attempt at dealing with the day. After a brief round of dishes and cleaning up, everyone dons their Canada Day t-shirts and steps outside to enjoy some of the sunshine before temperatures reach an unsafe and/or intolerable level.
That doesn’t take long… Temperatures are already on the high 20’s and climbing with a completely clear sky offering no respite from the direct light of the Sun. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not the type to complain about summer weather. Especially since I hate the freezing cold and especially the snow. Winter wonderland, my ass! But the summer, although enjoyable, brings it own set of difficulties as it relates to proper health and fitness. Especially if you’re part of a family primarily composed of people with the redheaded gene, fair skin and all.
I could spout the usual rhetoric about needing to cover up, wear a proper amount of sunscreen and stay hydrated. You know, the stuff all of you have had shoved down your throats since childhood. This is a good reminder though, as the summer heat can catch up to you quickly. Even SPF30 will do, even if it means slathering some on more often. Keep a reusable water bottle around and sip from it consistently. And no, beer or other alcoholic beverages don’t count towards your hydration (as much as I occasionally like to think so.
If you have Type-1 Diabetes, you should be aware that the summer heat will cause unexpected increases in blood sugars. If “A” leads to “B” and “B” leads to “C,” then by the transitive property, “A” eventually leads to “C.” What this means is, the extreme heat will cause dehydration. Dehydration leads to higher blood sugars. Ergo, extreme summer heat leads to higher blood sugars. Did I just make that way more complicated than it needed to be? Meinh, who cares! I understand myself, which is what’s important. Not everyone can say as much…
The summer rays will cause all sorts of other issues, such as affecting blood pressure, flushing, dizziness and the potential for heat stroke. Anything and everything affects a Type-1 Diabetic’s blood sugar levels, so it’s important to be prepared for summer conditions. If you’re travelling, camping or performing outdoor sports or exercise, be sure to keep your testing equipment nearby, drink/have plenty of fluids available (including electrolytes) and keep in mind that your Diabetes equipment won’t like extreme temperatures, so you may deal with malfunctioning equipment.
If you’ve Diabetes for any length of time measured in years, you’ll have survived through some summers and will likely already be aware of all this stuff. The important thing to remember is that having Diabetes doesn’t prevent you from enjoying the summer. One need only be prepared and deal with the potential issues that will accompany your condition. Our Canada Day was pretty quiet. We had mushroom burgers, spend a short period of time outside and did some work. The boys lost their minds over the plethora of bubbles created by their bubble machine, followed by naps and watching Spiderman: Into The Spider-verse. Definitely worse ways to spend a day off…☯