Safe Summer Fun with Type 1 Diabetes

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How to navigate summer activities with diabetes.

Summer is for spending time with friends and family and soaking up that wonderful sunshine! Planning summer adventures is simple and fun, but it can be a time of stress and anxiety for some, especially if you or your family members have type 1 diabetes. Operation Food Search’s Fresh Rx is here to help you navigate fun in the sun, while keeping everyone safe!

Prescribing Healthy Futures, a program designed to assist youth with type 1 diabetes achieve the best control over their diabetes, provides its participants with a Diabetes Survival Pack to ensure proper treatment when out and about. A survival skill pack is an essential tool for youth with diabetes as it allows for appropriate treatment of high and low blood sugars to prevent a diabetic emergency.

What’s Inside a Diabetes Survival Pack?

Before we get to what’s inside a diabetes survival pack, let’s cover the best way to store and carry your survival tools. Certain diabetes-related supplies, like test strips, insulin, glucagon and ketone strips, should be kept at a temperature that is not too hot and not too cold. We recommend using a small, insulated bag like a personal lunch box because it’s best to keep supplies at a moderate temperature. The Gloppie Little Lunch Bag is the perfect size for all our supplies. You can find it on Amazon.

Now, let’s get to what we put inside! When thinking about what to put inside our kits, we want to make sure we address high and low blood sugar treatment, extra monitoring and insulin administration supplies, as well as possible technology failures.

High Blood Sugar Treatment

When treating high blood sugar, we want to make sure that we have supplies that will help to lower the blood sugar and monitor for ketones. As everyone with diabetes has a personalized plan to address blood sugars, the plan should be followed as discussed with your health care provider to ensure proper action is taken. Below are some essential items to stock your survival kit with:

  • Insulin
  • Water
  • Ketone Strips
  • Syringes

Low Blood Sugar Treatment

It is essential to have supplies to treat low blood sugar. It is also important to ensure that you have more than one low blood sugar snack within your survival skill pack. A great place to purchase “low snacks” are dollar stores. They have a great selection of juice boxes that are 15 grams of carbohydrates, individual packs of fruit snacks and more! Here are a few things that we stock our participants’ survival tool packs with:

  • Juice Boxes
  • Glucose Tabs
  • Fun Size Skittles
  • Fruit Snacks

Monitoring Supplies

Monitoring supplies are vital to have on hand as well! Even though many individuals with type 1 diabetes are using continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices to keep track of their blood sugars, extra monitoring supplies should be kept on hand in the case of the CGM failing. Think about adding some of the following supplies to your survival pack:

  • Test Strips
  • Lancets
  • Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)
  • Glucometer
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer

Technology Failures

The world of diabetes is filled with great technology that helps to enhance and better manage diabetes, but sometimes the technology malfunctions, and we need to be prepared for when that happens. Try to think about the devices you or your youth use to help manage diabetes and add things to the survival pack that will help ensure quick action if the technology fails. OFS provides some of the following to their participants to help navigate things like insulin pump failures:

  • Insulin Pump Site Change
  • Spare Batteries

Now that you and your youth have your diabetes survival pack ready, go enjoy some summer fun! –Written by Olivia Strickley, Diabetes Specialist at Operation Food Search

*The information provided in this post does not constitute medical advice. Please call your physician if you have any diabetes-related questions. If you or your youth are experiencing a diabetic emergency, please call 9-1-1. Make sure to follow all guidelines provided by your physician when treating high and low blood sugar levels.

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