Countless cups of chai, dancing in the puddles, paper boats, piping hot pakoras & listening to music while gazing outside the window – these are a few things that have become synonymous with Monsoon, the season that always casts a spell on us.
During this season, it becomes extremely important that people with diabetes not take a raincheck on regular monitoring. Additionally, one must try to keep their blood sugar level in the check. This can be easily done using tools like continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices, which don’t involve finger pricking to give you glucose level insights. Such devices have metrics like Time in Range, which indicates the amount of time in a day that one’s glucose levels stay within a specified range. Checking your readings more often is also associated with more time spent in this optimal range, which can improve your glucose control.
Dr. Abhijit Bhograj, Endocrinologist, Manipal Hospital, Bangalore, said, “For people living with diabetes, the onset of monsoon signals the arrival of a host of infections like the flu and waterborne diseases. These can affect their immune system and lead to other health problems, making this a particularly challenging time. People with diabetes must take extra care and follow preventative steps to avoid health concerns and glucose fluctuations during this time and stay healthy. Therefore, monitoring is extremely vital during the rainy season, and this can be supported through solutions like continuous glucose monitoring (CGM).”
Here are a few tips on how to enjoy the monsoon season while managing your diabetes this year:
Regularly monitor blood sugar levels: As you may change your everyday exercise or diet routines during this season, checking your glucose levels frequently is a must. Fortunately, there are more ways to do this. Wearable CGM devices, like FreeStyle Libre for instance, can provide you real-time access to your glucose readings. You should try to stay in the optimal glucose range (commonly 70 – 180 mg/dl) for about 17 out of the 24 hours each day. In this way, you can manage your diabetes, come rain or shine.
Include immunity-boosting foods in your diet: Diabetes can compromise your immunity. Therefore, while it may be tempting to eat at your local street food vendor’s, people with diabetes should avoid outside to limit being exposed to waterborne diseases. Stick to home-cooked meals enriched with immunity-boosting and antioxidant-rich foods, while staying away from raw food. This can lower your risk of contracting infections or diseases at this time. Additionally, make sure to properly wash leafy vegetables that could host worms or bacteria.
Keep your feet dry: People with diabetes must take extra care of their feet during this season. Feet care 101 should include washing one’s feet after being exposed to rain and the infections that could come with it. You should also carry an extra pair of socks as getting your feet wet is more of an eventuality than a probability. Wear comfortable shoes that are dry and clean to avoid fungal infections (and don’t walk through puddles).
Don’t skip on exercise: The rainy season brings with it the feeling of wanting to sit and relax at home. However, people with diabetes must remain active and maintain a consistent exercise routine. While some outdoor options may be unavailable due to the rain, you can always try a low intensity workout indoors. A short 30-minute workout or daily morning walk indoors, for example, can help immensely in maintaining blood-sugar levels.
Stay Hydrated: Even though water is everywhere during the monsoons, that doesn’t mean your body is automatically getting hydrated. Humidity coupled with heat that is the signature of Indian monsoons can lead to dehydration. People with diabetes should ensure that they are consuming an adequate amount of water.
Protect your eyes: Moisture in the air makes its easy for eye infections to travel. Therefore, people with diabetes must be careful to touch one’s eyes only after washing their hands. If possible, wear protective glasses if you are getting soaked in the rain. Given the high risk of developing certain eye diseases with diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy, you should also consider annual eye screenings to check for any concerning signs.
In addition to these tips, people with diabetes should remain alert to any concerning trends of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia and take care of these immediately. All in all, ‘Stay Alert’ should be the mantra for any person with diabetes during the monsoon season.