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Keep your kid cool, busy and in-range this summer

Summer diabetes care for kids can be a real roller coaster—literally and figuratively. They're often more active, doing things they don't get to do during the school year (like riding roller coasters!). Food and sleep routines may go out the window. So how can you help keep your child's numbers from rising and falling like they're at an amusement park?

Plan to be busy. You may be walking around a zoo or swimming at the beach one day, then hanging at a backyard picnic the next. You already know how blood sugar can change from weekdays to weekends, but summer just amps up the surprises. Real D-mom Samantha B has her daughter eat a protein-rich snack before activity to keep her numbers stable, and has juice on hand should her blood glucose start to fall.

By monitoring your child's numbers more closely when they're active, you can adjust quickly and keep the day's fun on track.

Plan for new foods. Lunch may be a little easier to control when you're packing it up for school every day. But if you're traveling, out and about, or just taking a break from the routine, there may be new foods on offer. A familiar snack can come in handy if whatever they've ordered turns out to be a miss.

Plan to keep things put. Sticky stuff seems to be getting smarter, so unless your child is prone to reactions, try a few adhesives or patches to keep their devices in place. We've heard that hydrocolloid adhesive pads seem to stick even better when they get wet.

Plan for the heat. Dehydration can lead to higher numbers, while the heat itself can cause some people's blood sugar to drop.1 Encourage your child to drink from that water bottle they carry everywhere, and be on guard for lows.

And remember, direct sunlight and high temperatures can damage insulin, test strips, blood glucose meters and insulin pumps. Keep diabetes supplies and equipment in a cooler bag and out of the hot car.

Plan for your plans to change. It's summer. Kids are kids. Ice cream is everywhere (and, potentially, a great pre-activity snack). Expect things to go sideways, and you'll be rewarded for your amazing forethought.

Summer may not be a vacation from diabetes, but with smart planning and a big dose of flexibility, it can be an awful lot of fun.

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1CDC. Managing diabetes in the heat. Available at: Accessed May 25, 2018.

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