No matter where you’ve been spending the season, summer is a powerful word that represents the very essence of outdoor relaxation, a time to let potential worries of the real world fall away and enjoy pool parties, sailing, hiking, or even just reading a good book out in the fresh summer breeze. But what about those of us living with diabetes? When we walk out the door to the beach or the pool, how do we let our worries fall away when we have to remember so much, from diabetes supplies to snacks? I’ve developed a list of my summer favorites – practical and stylish solutions to seasonal needs – to help those of us living with diabetes worry less, relax more, and look terrific for the rest of the summer.
A good beach bag is my top priority for the summer. For people living with diabetes, a good bag should be durable, have interior pockets, and enough room for diabetes supplies, snacks, a freezer pack, and sunscreen, among other essentials, such as a good summer book. Function is a necessity, but in my opinion, fashion should never be overlooked! This season, I especially like the Ella Vickers1 line of stylish totes, all of which are made from jaunty recycled sailcloth. The Open Tote Large is fun and practical, with a waterproof liner, inner pocket, and inside key clip. Another great choice designed specifically for people with diabetes is the Insulated Beach Bag by Pump Wear™. Created by parents of a child with type 1 diabetes, these insulated bags come in a variety of styles at a reasonable price.
Ella Vickers, Open Tote Large in Blue
Those of us living with diabetes may pay extra attention to our feet, but this gives us (or at least me) a good excuse to buy a new pair of sandals every summer! In my experience, closed-toe sandals help to provide extra coverage and protection, and my family has found KEEN2 shoes especially useful. They have toe protection and are versatile—you can wear them for many “dry” outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking, but most of the styles are also designed to get wet. This pair is one of my favorites, but KEEN also makes nice options for men and children.
For summer travels, I find Myabetic3 to be a great resource for versatile and functional handbags. The Moya Handbag, available in summery shades of ivory and pink, is part purse and part diabetes supplies kit. Consequently, it has ample space to fit sunglasses, a camera, and a passport, along with hidden compartments for all of my supplies. Myabetic has also partnered with FRIO® to create a handy line of cooling and insulating pouches to store insulin while on the go, which easily tuck into their bags.
Myabetic, Moya Handbag in Ivory
In my experience, tankinis are the best bathing suit choice for female pump wearers, offering both easy access to devices and nice coverage. Title Nine4 has an assortment of great-looking and functional suits. For guys Patagonia® makes a variety of suits with front and side pockets just the right size for an insulin pump; one of my favorite styles is the Patagonia Men’s Baggies™ swim shorts, which are quick-drying and come in a variety of fun colors.
If you’re planning a day in the sun, a cooler with juice, snacks, or glucose tabs is often a must for people living with diabetes. Whether you prefer a handheld cooler to carry over the sand (my choice) or a wheeled variety that’s just right for the boardwalk, Igloo® offers something for everyone. In a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles, these coolers may become a fixture in your trunk this summer when you hit the road.
Medical Alert Jewelry:
Of course, safety is as important under the summer sun as it is at all times throughout the year, so medical alert jewelry is a necessity for me year-round. Lauren’s Hope5 has a great summer solution with waterproof, machine-washable alert bracelets, which are terrific for the beach and pool. They come in a variety of colors and are designed to appeal to guys and gals of all ages. Lauren’s Hope also donates a portion of their profits to JDRF; they have donated over $100,000 so far!
CoolMedID® is another option for fun, colorful, and “cool” medical identification. Co-founder Lara Jensen says the idea came as a solution to a family problem. “My mother-in-law and our three nieces (two of whom were teenagers at the time) all had type 1 diabetes,” she said, “but not one of them would wear a traditional medical identification bracelet, because they thought they looked unattractive, and drew unwanted attention.” After some family brainstorming, they developed a large selection of colorful wristbands for several medical conditions, and can even create custom designs for clients. “Now my mother-in-law wears a CoolMedID bracelet every day and even color coordinates them with her outfits!” adds Jensen. How cool is that? Find even more fashionable medical alert jewelry ideas (and a few good reasons to wear it) here.
A variety of medical IDs from CoolMedID®
I like to think about my list of summer favorites, not as a heavy load to carry around in the heat, but as a group of products that may actually help ease my burden, making practical sense while offering a dash of flair. Do you have a favorite summer product? Consider registering on The DX and leaving a comment to share.
Amy Stockwell Mercer is a freelance writer with type 1 diabetes living in Charleston, SC. She blogs at re-Defining Diabetes and her work can be found in a variety of publications including Charleston Magazine, The City Paper, Diabetes Health, and Literary Mama. Amy Stockwell Mercer is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
© 2012 The DX: The Diabetes Experience
1 Ella Vickers is a registered trademark.
2 KEEN is a registered trademark.
3 Myabetic is a registered trademark.
4 Title Nine is a registered trademark.
5 Lauren’s Hope is a registered trademark.