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Diabetes Precautions at the Beach

Q: I've just been diagnosed with diabetes and was wondering if going to the beach is a bad idea. Are there precautions I should take?

A: You should feel that you can do most any activity you did before you were diagnosed with diabetes, including going to the beach. What you need to do now is take a few precautionary steps and take along your supplies.

Pack your beach bag, and remember these safety and health tips:

  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to protect yourself from burning.

  • Wear sunglasses with ultraviolet protection.

  • Don't walk on the beach barefoot. Wear a pair of beach shoes that protect your toes and feet.

  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.

  • Pack a healthful picnic lunch or at least enough side items to put together a healthful meal combined with your beach food purchases.

  • Take your diabetes medications as recommended.

  • Take your blood glucose monitoring equipment and check your blood glucose regularly, particularly if you are more active than usual.

If you take insulin and need to bring it along, keep it in a cooler. You don't want it to overheat.

Jeannette Jordan, M.S., R.D., CDE, is the American Dietetic Association's national spokesperson for African-American nutrition issues and oversees nutrition education at the Medical University of South Carolina.