The temperatures are climbing; does thismean trouble for you and your insulinpump? Will your insulin’s potency beaffected? Will your glucose levels climb ordrop in the warmer weather?
Any activity that increases perspiration canloosen the infusion set. If perspiration is aproblem, try using a spray of antiperspiranton the insertion site after your usual skin-preparationroutine. A small cotton ball heldover the intended insertion point, followed byan antiperspirant and allowed to dry beforeinsertion, works for some pump users. Othershave success with a skin-barrier preparation,such as Mastisol, Skin-Tac H or compoundtincture of benzoin applied to the skin that willbe under the transparent occlusive dressingapplied over the insertion set.
The pump housing provides some insulationfrom the heat. Many pump users who live inwarmer areas experience very few problemswith insulin degradation. Using a protectivepouch, such as a Frio wallet, or a leather-likefanny pack with a small, cold gel pack placedinside the pouch, are two ways you can protectyour insulin from the effects of heat.
If you are spending an extended amount oftime in the sun, cover the pump with a towelto protect it from prolonged direct sunlight.Disconnecting your pump for up to an hour isanother option, but if it is disconnected for alonger time, you will need to bolus for missedhourly basal doses.
Blood Glucose Control
Heat and physical activity can affect insulinabsorption rates, so check your blood glucoselevels more often. Consider a temporarybasal reduction or an alternate basal profileprogram, if your pump has this feature. Changethe insulin in the reservoir or cartridge moreoften—every two days, if you would normallychange it every three or four days. If the insulindeteriorates, you can expect high bloodglucose levels.
If you disconnect your pump for swimmingand beach activities, you can place the pump ina zip-type plastic bag, wrap it in a small toweland then store it in a cooler. Be sure to keep thecooler in sight at all times to safeguard yourpump from the possibility of theft.
If your pump manufacturer offers a pumpprotective device, such as a Sportguard(Medtronic MiniMed) or a waterproof neoprenepack, consider purchasing one. Check withthe customer service department for options.If your waterproof pump requires periodicchanges of “O” rings or other waterproofing devices, be sure to order these and follow the recommendations for maintaining the waterproof ability of your pump. Wipe or rinse off any sand or dirt. Keeping the pump protected in a pouch will help avoid this problem.
If a bikini is your usual beach attire, at yourhip might be the most convenient site forplacement. Practice different placementtechniques for your summer outfits andoutdoor activities.