The diabetes care during winter is a lot of work, but it will pay off as you stay safe from undesired complications. A diabetic patient is a person who has some special needs that must be taken into account during the winter season. A person with diabetes has a lower immunity and is therefore more sensible to serious winter illnesses.
The first piece of advice, which should be mandatory, is to get the patient vaccinated against the flu. The category of patients with diabetes is considered to be a category of patients at risk of contracting the flu virus. That is why the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a statement recommending that all diabetic patients be vaccinated against influenza annually.
Most of the governments have aligned themselves with the requirements of the WHO and provide, through clinics and doctors, free vaccines to patients with diabetes.
Please note that the diabetic patient is at risk of contracting the flu virus and developing severe forms of the disease. It can make the flu fatal in the end. The diabetic patient may lose his life due to the complications of the flu!
The optimal vaccination period is between October and December. Its action is 6 months and will protect you throughout the cold season.
Bear in mind that it takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to work, so the patient will need to be careful not to contract the virus during this time.
The flu vaccine is given every year because the viruses are different every year and we need a new serum to protect us from the flu.
Watch out for warm feet
Diabetic care during winter is a lot of work, but should it be done properly it will save you from a lot of hassle. Another useful tip for patients with diabetes in the cold period is to pay attention to clothing and especially to shoes. In many, the diabetic patient is suffering from neuropathy and then he no longer feels cold or warmth. Because he no longer has thermal sensitivity, he may suffer frostbites if clothing or footwear is not appropriate.
A patient may leave the house wearing thin clothes and inappropriate footwear and may wake up with toes on frozen feet. This will lead to amputation of the fingers and the wounds will be difficult to heal due to diabetes.
The patient should also pay attention to hot water or heat sources, such as radiators. Due to the fact that he no longer feels the cold or heat, he will tend to put warm water on his feet or put his feet on the radiator to alleviate his feeling of cold feet (a feeling that patients often have). In this case he will suffer burns, which can be extremely serious and can lead to infections and later to amputations.
Nutrition during the cold season for diabetics
Nutrition is an extremely important part of a diabetic patient’s life and he or she needs to be careful about it during the cold season. Due to the fact that fresh vegetables and fruits are not so easily found in winter, a diabetic’s diet may suffer.
We do not recommend consuming large amounts of pickled foods, due to the fact that they have a large amount of salt and sometimes even sugar, depending on the recipe. Salt is not indicated because most of the time diabetic patients are also hypertensive and are not allowed large amounts of salt.
We recommend that patients preserve, preferably by freezing, during the summer, the vegetables that they can use later during the cold season. This way they will not change their diet and will not have imbalances, eating potatoes with bread or beans with bread.
Fruits will be eaten in moderation, will not replace the lack of fresh vegetables. Each patient will follow the recommendation received from the doctor regarding the amount of fruit. Seasonal fruits will be eaten, not dried, as they have a much higher amount of sugar.
Diabetes care during winter tips
I heard a story told by a diabetic who had an intake of 400 g of fruit a day, who told me that he had eaten 400 grams of raisins, grapes and dried apricots, to compensate he said for the lack of fresh fruit and vitamins. Because these dried fruits have a much higher amount of sugar than normal, the patient had high blood sugar and did not understand why.
During the winter, patients must be extremely careful about the shoes they use when walking on ice. It would be better not to venture when the ice is outside. If this is not possible, then we recommend that they wear appropriate footwear and avoid caution. Injuries that can lead to serious fractures that may even require surgery, which will be harder to heal due to diabetes.
Cold season continues to affect the life of a diabetic and can interfere with the management of the disease. Should you be a winter fan of activities like skating and skiing, and you just can’t wait for those first flakes to fall, make sure you’re very well equipped.
- If you are a in to winter sports make sure you have snacks and water with you to avoid getting dehydrated or risk a hypoglycemia
- Test, test, test! Measure your blood sugar before any physical activity. Due to being cold outside some patients ignore the signs of hypos. Close monitoring is the best way to observe how cold weather affects your body and to manage blood sugar trends.
- Make sure your insulin, pumps, patches are warm enough. Wearing pumps and meters in a pocket close to your skin is a good way to use your natural body heat to resist low temperatures. Keep in mind that low temperatures can make devices inoperable and insulin frozen. Double-check the temperature requirements on the label and replace the insulin if you body is not reacting to it as it used to
- Test, hydrate and rest!
Winter might seem like a great excuse to avoid physical exercises, but do not forget that a diabetic needs at least 30 minutes of exercises daily. If you are not comfortable with the diabetes care during winter, you can always do cardio at home or the gym, or some other exercises according to your needs.
Diabetes care during winter is again something that a diabetic person must focus during the cold season, but remember the better you manage your diabetes, the better it will manage you!