While, healthcare in monsoon is crucial for everyone like avoiding the common cold, infections and water-borne diseases, it is more critical for people with diabetes (PwDs) and preventive actions tend to take much longer to avoid fluctuations in blood sugar levels and potential problems. Humidity, sweat, and moisture in monsoons are triggers to issue like respiratory problems, development of fungi and other microorganisms. PwDs need to take extra care in this weather with right eating habits and personal hygiene. Importantly, diabetes reduces a person’s immunity and hence, it is essential to keep a watch on any complications that can get associated during monsoons.
Managing diabetes in monsoons is very critical. It is also a time when outdoor activities are curtailed and one has to protect oneself from infections. It is definitely a trying time for people with diabetes. Dr Varsha Khatry, Head- Medical and Scientific Affair, Roche Diabetes Care India shares some essential care tips for diabetics, while enjoying the season to its fullest:
Exercising – No excuses: The weather is too good & this makes it even more difficult to get out of the cosy bed and go out for the regular morning walk, jog or gym routine. Do not stop your exercise routine in monsoon. Everyday minimum of 30 minutes of exercise is very important to keep your blood sugar under control.
Foot Care: PwDs should take extra care of their feet. It is crucial for them to clean their feet after exposure to rain. Don’t wear wet socks for a long time and keep an extra piece of clothing to wipe the feet should be kept handy. Wear clean and dry shoes to avoid bacterial growth or fungal infections. Ideally, choose open toe and waterproof footwear. Be careful while walking and prevent falls. Check your shoes for any foreign object before wearing them.
Walking bare foot, even in the house can increase chances of infections and germs. Basic things like boils, corn, rashes or cuts can also become complicated for PwDs. A doctor should be alerted immediately if any change is noticed.
Skincare: Keep skin clean and dry. Avoid hot baths and showers. If your skin is dry, don’t use bubble baths. Moisturising soaps may help. Post that uses standard skin lotions and doesn’t put lotions between toes. The extra moisture there can encourage fungus to grow.
Treat cuts right away. Wash minor cuts with soap and water. Only use an antibiotic cream or ointment if your doctor recommends. Use mild shampoos and do not use feminine hygiene sprays.
Healthy diet: Waterborne diseases are most common in this season and one should stay away from eating out at this time. Unhygienic food and water can cause food poisoning, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, often resulting in dehydration.
Stick to your prescribed diet and wash all vegetables well, especially green leafy ones as they harbour worms and larvae in this season. It is advised to consume fresh or home-cooked food. One should stick to warm foodstuff and beverages that may help build immunity.
Drink more fluids: Hot and humid weather in monsoons may lead to dehydration, in spite of normal activity level. Drinking additional fluids will assist replace fluid lost through sweating. People with diabetes should consume more fluids such as vegetable juice, soups, ginger tea etc. Apart from this, one should drink plenty of water, preferably drink warm water to prevent waterborne disease like typhoid and diarrhoea
Risk of developing eye diseases: While the weather has turned pleasant, there is also a downside to it. Eye infections increase in these months. Monsoons can bring with them viral and bacterial eye infections due to increased moisture in the air. Hence, extra care becomes important for people with diabetes. Common problems encountered during this season are conjunctivitis, stye, dry eyes and corneal ulcers. Most of these can be avoided by taking certain precautions regarding ocular hygiene and good control of diabetes. Frequent touching of the ocular surface with unwashed hands is the main source of infections.
Eyes wide shut: Close your eyes when you decide to get soaked in the rain as it screens off atmospheric pollutants. While the rainwater is reasonably clean, you need to be wary of the rainwater if you stand under a tree or a building, as it can be contaminated with pollutants, which could increase eye infections. Rainwater can also strip away tear glands which could make your eyes dry.
Stay out of wind: Wear light coloured sunglasses if you have to go out during the day to keep your eyes protected. Contact lens wearers should diligently follow the rule, or they are at risk of getting their contacts blown away in the wind.
Avoid a splash: Splashing sounds fun, reminds of the good old childhood days. But, splash contains muck and if it gets accidentally in your eyes, wash it off immediately with plain water and dry your eyes. If you are not carrying water with you then buy a water bottle immediately to clean your eyes, as mucky water carries a lot of bacteria, which can infect your eyes. Monsoon is also not the time when you should take a dip in the pool, as it can result in eye infections.
Emphasise on hygienic practices: During monsoon, eye infections like conjunctivitis and stye are on the rise. The infection is contagious and can be easily transmitted via towels, handkerchiefs, lenses, glasses and other articles handled during the course of daily activities. To avoid infection, you need to ensure that you do not share articles of personal use with anyone else. Eye infections result in redness of the eye and watery discharge. Use antibiotic eye drops to treat eye infections, only after it has been prescribed by an ophthalmologist.
Scheduled and timely diet: Eating on time and regularly is very important in controlling unwanted fluctuation in insulin levels. PwDs should always eat on time to keep the insulin levels in control, especially, during this uncertain weather. It is advised to carry some snacks as PwDs tend to feel hunger more frequently than non-diabetic people.
Monitor blood sugar levels regularly: People with abnormal blood sugar levels will be more vulnerable to infections. It is most essential to maintain a regular check on blood sugar levels and keep a record. Any changes in these levels can indicate the onset of an illness. So it is vital to stick to proper meal plans and exercise routine, and monitor sugar levels consistently. One should use glucometers to test the readings and store data in order to observe patterns in fluctuations if any. Additionally reading helpful tips helps one maintain healthy habits. Consulting with a doctor should be done whenever required.
These mindful, precautions and care can help PwDs enjoy this season to its fullest. After all, monsoons are meant to wash away the blues and put a big smile on everyone’s faces!...