5 tips for safe descents
Snow has something magical about it. Snowy landscapes are idyllic and lure us outside despite the freezing temperatures. It makes you want to go for a walk or even sledging or skiing. For people with diabetes, there are a few things to keep in mind due to the cold and physical exercise.
In winter, we often spend many hours outside in the snow. We keep moving to stay warm. Both, the cold and the exercise, require special attention with regard to blood sugar.
#1 – Keep your pump and insulin warm.
Insulin must never freeze. Otherwise it loses its structure and is no longer effective, even after thawing. Keep your insulin pump and any spare insulin you are carrying close to your body. In case of particularly low temperatures, you can also wrap the insulin in an insulating foil for additional protection against the cold.
#2 – Carry your blood glucose monitoring system close to your body.
The same applies to another faithful companion of people with diabetes: the blood glucose monitoring system. The BGM only works properly within its specified operating temperatures. Moreover, the cold has a negative effect on the BGM’s batteries. At low temperatures, the batteries can lose charge much faster. That is why you should also carry your glucose monitoring system as close to the body as possible.
#3 – Protect your hands from the cold.
For an accurate blood sugar measurement result, your fingers need to be warm. It is therefore best that you wear gloves. If the fingers become cold, you can rub the blood back into your fingers, or even take a hot drink in a thermos to warm your hands before measuring.
#4 – Keep an eye on your blood sugar.
When skiing or sledging, we are often having so much fun that we forget that both can be quite exhausting. Exercise can have an effect on your blood sugar. Therefore: do not forget to take regular measurements. If you are not used to physical activity, you should talk to your physician first in order to discuss the effects of sports on your blood sugar and possible measures. However, in general the rule is: exercise is healthy – for people with or without diabetes. It does not have to be a cross-country marathon or off piste snowboarding.
#5 – Pack fast carbs.
Last but not least, one thing must not be forgotten: in order to be able to prevent or treat hypoglycaemia at any time, you should always pack carbohydrates such as dextrose or fruit bars. Make sure you pack in such a way that they are ready to hand as quickly as possible!
Now, let’s hope for a lot of powdery snow and enjoy the winter season!