Diabetes and winter

By vgarrison Latest Reply 2012-01-27 03:10:49 -0600
Started 2008-09-27 17:24:10 -0500

I am just wondering if there are things that us diabetics have to do differently in the winter time. Most of you know that I am very new to this, and I want to make sure that my first winter isn't going to hurt me in any way.

I have noticed that I am getting colder easier now, and I used to sleep with my feet having to be outside of the covers at night, now I'm getting to the point that I almost need socks at night!!

77 replies

Snookie7 2012-01-27 03:10:49 -0600 Report

Does anyone have a problem with skin itching and no matter what I use it has to wear off and then the tinging starts? Any thoughts on this and is it me getting scratches on diffent parts of the body with out pets or humans in the house with me? I have notived that since I have turn the double nickel , my hairy legs feels like stuble with a bad hair removal . Is it me thinking I'm falling aprt or anm I really falling apart.
Just Saying !

Caroltoo 2012-01-14 20:03:23 -0600 Report

I've only had diabetes since being in Hawaii, so my experience doesn't have the weather extremes that yours probably does.

I take a flu shot when I am working. I didn't this year because I'm home caring for my husband who is in his 10th year of Alzheimer's and I'm not in public much.
I have had my pneumonia shot.

I watch my feet more closely for dry cracked spots that are harder to deal with in colder/drier weather. I cover up more at night than I used to.

I keep up my exercising inside when outside doesn't engage me. I do need regular exercise and use treadmill, cardio-fit, upright cycle, weights, bands, kettle ball, and exercise ball when inside only.

Watch the diet: keep high in lean protein, hit the produce aisle more often and cook up some hot low carb soups, drink more hot tea than iced, etc.

In cold climates, I'd focus on staying warm and wearing layers so I can adjust the temperature to where ever I am. I do this when I am flying also. I start here in Hawaii in shorts/sandals/sleeveless shirt and add layers all the way across the US. When I landed in Edmonton the last time, I'd added slacks, long johns, stockings, socks, boots, a couple of shirts, sweater, and a jacket. Pile the stuff in a bag in the order in which you need to add them. It's only a brief addition to a flying pit stop on the way.

If you are driving in snow, I'd be sure I had the usual stuff for safety (sand, shovel, thermos of hot beverage, etc.) but also add in extra clothing and a blanket in case you get wet/cold and carry extra medications in case you can't get home on time.

tamoumoune 2012-01-14 18:50:31 -0600 Report

My doctor recommends the Flu-shot to help during the winter. When I was first diagnosed with type II diabetes two years ago, I became sick with a cold that I could not recover from. I later learned that having a cold affects people with type II diabetes by raising the blood sugar. The cold also last much longer. For this reason, I now make sure that I receive my flu-shot every winter. Thus far, I am feeling great.

Snookie7 2012-01-27 03:05:22 -0600 Report

HI ! You are so right because this happen to me also . That cold took me three months of buying everything over the counter, had to finally break down and go to the doctor. He gives the flu shot at no extra charge.

Sly Kitty
Sly Kitty 2012-01-14 18:03:43 -0600 Report

I don't know if anyone else has found a correlation between your BS and you feeling hot or cold, but I have decided when I had a recent drop in BS I broke out into a sweat and after eating and raising my BS (a little too high) I was shivering cold.

Caroltoo 2012-01-14 18:12:03 -0600 Report

Oh, absolutely. When my BG is up and I get on the treadmill, I can always tell when it begins to drop because I begin to sweat. I've actually tested at times every five minutes and when I break a sweat and know this is a predictor for me.

Now, to keep it down, I have to stay at it for at least 30 minutes. To bring it down, only takes 20.

Sly Kitty
Sly Kitty 2012-01-14 23:15:49 -0600 Report

Thank you for verifying what I think are indicators/signals as to what is happening with BS levels. I was not doing any physical activity when I had a sudden drop and it really scared me because I broke out in a sweat and my heart was racing and I felt like passing out. I never had it drop suddenly right after I took my insulin. Again, thank you for sharing your experience.

Sly Kitty
Sly Kitty 2012-01-15 15:35:51 -0600 Report

It wasn't that low, 68 so I ate some maple syrup and a couple hrs later it was 228. One extreme to the other. They are changing my insulin I think this week. Thank you

TsalagiLenape 2012-01-14 14:44:35 -0600 Report

I use Vicks Vapor Rub on my clean feet with a clean pair of socks. Helps your feet get soft and makes my feet hot. Hope this helps. Hugs

NamVet - 21894
NamVet - 21894 2008-10-04 08:02:28 -0500 Report

Protect your extremities. Remember with Diabetes you sometimes do not know when you are too hot or too cold!! Just be prepared. Cover your body all the time.

vgarrison 2008-10-04 10:24:46 -0500 Report


Ok here is my sarcastic side…I didn't really plan on walking around outside naked…but yes I'll make sure I cover my body at all time…


Bluebutterfly 2008-10-04 03:42:30 -0500 Report

One thing to remember is to take your flu shot yearly.

vgarrison 2008-10-04 03:50:16 -0500 Report


I am very mixed about this…I have taken the flu shot only once in the past and that was the year I got the flu. I know my doctor said it was a very good idea to take it, but I'm nervous.


jigsaw 2012-01-14 19:12:11 -0600 Report

It's a dead viral vaccine. You cannot get the flu from it. It was just a coincidence that you got the flu. Usually if you get the flu after the vaccine, it's a much milder version. My vote, get the vaccine, especially if your diabetic!!

hagar2935 2012-01-14 19:50:27 -0600 Report

I don't know why, but every year that I got the flu shot I immediately came down with a serious case of the flu. The last couple years I have not had the shots or the flu at all…

Over my life, I rarely got the flu while others did. I got occasional mild colds but not any major flu's…

Maybe my system is hypersensitive to the flu virus, live or dead?

Caroltoo 2012-01-14 20:07:15 -0600 Report

Or perhaps the immune system responds to the power of suggestion with a brief dip in immunity? Our minds are very powerful weapons.

Sly Kitty
Sly Kitty 2012-01-14 18:07:36 -0600 Report

Did your doctor tell you had the flu or did you just have flu-like symptoms? I know some have said the flu shot gave them the flu, but I don't think it works like that. If your doctor said you should get the shot I say get the shot. I get the flu shot every year and have not had any flu symptoms. Good Luck

kdroberts 2008-10-04 05:19:04 -0500 Report

Flu shots are basically guess work. They pick 3 strains of flu and that's what you get immunized against. Should you pick up another strain, the shot will be useless. The other thing to keep in mind, and this isn't aimed at you, but "flu" gets banded around a lot and most of the time it isn't flu but a nasty cold. Flu will take you out for weeks and you won't be able to do anything. It always makes me laugh when I'm at work and somebody says they have the flu. If they really did they would be at home, not wanting to move thinking that they are dying!

Maja1959 2012-01-14 08:26:01 -0600 Report

I do the pneumonia shot every five years they say, the flu shot every year, and I take vitamin C. I haven't had a really bad cold this year. I am a diabetic and heart patient. I can't do anything like Clariton D anything with a D. I use saline nasal spray and Vicks. My dad swears by Vicks so I tried it and it works! Even for coughs! You don't ingest it but I rubbed it on my neck and under my nose. Becareful don't use a heating pad with it you might burn yourself. That is why I put it on my neck and nose and not my chest. Good Luck!

Sly Kitty
Sly Kitty 2012-01-15 15:40:34 -0600 Report

Yes, nose and chest. Done that since my mom did when we were kids. Also breathe it in the steam & that works. Since being an adult I do find that Alkaseltzer Cold Plus works very well. Hate the taste and the fizzing, but it does help.

stormz 2012-01-14 14:37:52 -0600 Report

I thought I was told I only had to get the pneumonia shot once. I did get it more than once myself because I wasn't sure. I do get the flu shot and here I am knocking wood that I have not gotten the flu in years. Thank you Lord! I do try to limit who I come in contact with over the winter months as well. I also make sure I get the right amount of vitamin C and my other vitamins. Maja1959 like you I believe in the Vicks and the saline nasal spray. I won't use any medicated sprays in my nose because (I won't mention the brand unless someone asks) I got cataracts from a medication. That was from nasal sprays. Clariton D is excellent. I have to take it every day. As for my feet I use Nivea it is great. I won't use nothing else. I shower and put it on right away. I do this 2 times a day and it has helped a lot. With what is left on my hands I use on my face and ladies my face is very soft. So it does have 2 good purposes. No need to buy a 2nd moisturizer for your day for your face. Just thought I'd throw that in LOL. Anyway y'all have a great day and God bless. Sorry I have been away so long just been busy hoping that all slow downs now.

Maja1959 2012-01-14 19:40:55 -0600 Report

Thanks everyone! I will double check the pneumonia thing with my doc again. I am new to all this and very open minded to advice. I will check it out.

hac62 2012-01-14 18:00:17 -0600 Report

my doctor told me pneumonia shot once and done too flu shot every year I have COPD too so I need to be very careful

Maja1959 2012-01-14 19:49:26 -0600 Report

Thanks! I will double check this again with my doc. This is what I was told at the diabetic clinic when I got it a few years back. I too have to be careful I have dialated cardiomyopathy on top of diabetes. I have 20% of my heart pumping and I am told that 20% is not pumping correctly. Just had defib implanted 12/27/2011. Good Luck with your COPD. I am trying to be very vigalant diet and exercise and taking meds. Meds did not raise my ejection rate from Aug to Dec. But things have to get better…keep smiling!

babs1202 2012-01-15 12:13:51 -0600 Report

I have a defib and a pacer because my heart EF was below 20% It was implanted in 2009. I also am a diabetic and have had a heart attack with lots of damage and a triple bypass. a year and a half or so after they put the deficb in it has helped me so much. My EF is now 35%. I have begun exercising again but at a much slower pace. My doctor requests I have the pneumonia and flu shots. I had one pneumonia about 4 years ago and have my flu shot every year. I have still gotten the flu too.

kdroberts 2008-09-30 04:59:51 -0500 Report

My biggest problem is my hands dry out a lot more than they used to. Cold, wind and low humidity are the culprits. Because of this I spent most of last winter with cracked skin (to the point of bleeding sometimes). A good hand lotion and gloves help, but can't cure. A humidifier or two around the house helps in general too.

Food isn't a problem really. You just need the willpower and a few ounces of creativity to get through all the comfort foods. Eg different types of squash instead of mashed potatoes or pasta.

stormz 2012-01-14 14:39:10 -0600 Report

I will say it once more use Nivea it is the best product out there. I have tried a lot of things and this is all that has worked for me.

Caroltoo 2012-01-14 18:01:02 -0600 Report

Nivea is about as close to a wonder product for cold climates as there is and at a reasonable price at that.

Now in warmer climates, I prefer a mix of Nivea CoQ lotion and sesame oil for a cleanser.

Sly Kitty
Sly Kitty 2012-01-14 17:55:40 -0600 Report

I agree with you on the Nivea; I find that works best for me also. Thank you

stormz 2012-01-14 22:33:54 -0600 Report

I love the Nivea I think it is great like I said I save money by using it as a day time moisturizer as well. Works great for me, my skin is soft as can be. Have a great night.

Maja1959 2012-01-15 07:25:25 -0600 Report

Thanks for the ideas. My mom use to use it all the time. I am 52 I guess I never thought any of this would happen to me. Surprise! Heart falls on both sides of my family. Diabetes is there but not as great as heart.

stormz 2012-01-15 23:00:08 -0600 Report

Sorry you have to have both problems. Big hugs! God Bless! I'm 50 and just found Nivea. I could have had both problems too I got lucky though why I don't know because my brother and sister have the heart problems and I don't. Don't understand how it all works.

stormz 2012-01-16 19:14:37 -0600 Report

Same thing. I just deal with it the best I can and your right there is nothing else you can do. Your Welcome! God Bless!

babs1202 2012-01-15 12:17:40 -0600 Report

I'm 59 but had my heart attack at 42. It was severe and left alot of damage. It is heriditary on my fathers side of the family and I have 7 siblings 3 of us have had heart attacks under the age of 50. The other 4 are on meds for lipids and blood pressure. Three of us are diabetics which my father was and so was my grandmother.

stormz 2012-01-16 19:16:10 -0600 Report

wow sorry to hear that. I still don't get how it skips one brother or sister. I hope your feeling better! God Bless!

Caroltoo 2012-01-16 19:37:58 -0600 Report

While our genetic makeup comes from our parents genes, we don't all get the same ones. With the different pairing of genes, we have different sensitivities despite having the same parents. The only exception to this would be identical twins who form from the splitting of one fertilized egg.

stormz 2012-01-16 23:35:30 -0600 Report

I actually knew that…It just really is odd how it works. I guess I should have worded it better…that darn phone of mine happen to rind while I was typing in my response so my thoughts were in 2 places usually I do better than that..owell. At least I got the important part across right that I hope she is feeling better and that I am sorry she is so ill. God Bless everyone!

vgarrison 2008-10-04 03:37:38 -0500 Report

a humidifier you say. I thought of one for the bedroom, but I think I might put one in the living room next to this computer…I do spend a lot of my resting part of the day here…


Becca66 2008-09-29 16:30:33 -0500 Report

i know what you mean about being cold. this will be my first winter with diabetes. i stay cold and i used to be hot alllll the time. i am with you on the winter thing. also my skin stays dry and itchy and my lips stay chapped. so i guess we will see what happens.

GabbyPA 2008-09-29 01:15:27 -0500 Report

This will be my first winter too, and I am a little worried about foods...you know, those wonderful comfort foods that plump you up each winter. I am really afraid of that.

How do you manage thru holidays, chilimac and meatloaf with mashed potatoes?? I am dreading it kind of. You might see my Pollyanna ways disappear for a while. (I hope not, but it might. LOL)

My feet too. I am like you Vgarrison, I have to wear socks sometimes at night because they are cold and hurt. I have the medi ped socks and they are fantastic. I love them.

We don't get really cold down here, but sometimes it is worse, because we don't really have clothing for those days it does get really cold (for us that is 19 degrees)Oh, well....more experiments for me!! LOL

tmana 2008-09-29 03:09:34 -0500 Report

It depends to some degree whether your family does a big round-the-table meal or a buffet style, and if everyone brings something or not. On covered-dish dinners (called "potluck" here in the northeast), I bring something healthy and low-sodium so I know I'll have something healthy and tasty to eat. One of my favorite winter dishes is a vegan chili (NO macaroni… the beans provide enough starch!), and I'll provide reduced-fat cheese on the side for those who want it.

GabbyPA 2008-09-29 03:16:25 -0500 Report

Sounds yummy, do you have the recipe posted? I would like to give it a whirl...I am going to need to be prepared. LOL

tmana 2008-09-29 11:40:15 -0500 Report

I hadn't on this forum, and I usually go "seat of my pants", but I did at one point write down a basic recipe, which I posted to the recipe section under "Vegan chili"

2008-09-29 12:12:57 -0500 Report

Gabby; Keep your head up, and full steam ahead. If you get the urge to endulge; go on your computer and discuss it with someone; or call someone on the phone. It is just like trying to quit smoking, just try to train yourself to keep your mind busy with other things, and eventually you will find something that works for you; I have faith in you Gabby; You have been working the site so well to your advantage and you are asking questions; getting answers as well as all the advice and discussions you have contributed. I think if you can stay involved all winter; spend all your free time on the computer it will help. Love to you, Gabby;;;;;;;CLaudia:-)

GabbyPA 2008-09-29 13:14:33 -0500 Report

Thanks Claudia,
I will be bugging you. It is easy to eat salads and lite in the summer, but I am a mid west gal at heart and winter means carbs...it will be intersting to be sure.

vgarrison 2008-10-04 03:35:17 -0500 Report


Yes I too live in the south (right outside New Orleans)…the tempurature doesn't drop that low here, but the humidity makes 50 degrees feel like 30. I am originally from South Dakota, but I swear my blood thinned since I've lived here for the past 4 years.. I am lucky, my mother lives in WA state, so if I call her, she will send me warmer clothes if need be.


Robert C. H.
Robert C. H. 2008-09-28 04:53:01 -0500 Report

Hi, A lot of people with diabetes have poor circulation in there legs and feet, Your Doctor should be able to tell you if that is the case, It's a very simple test. Like you I used to sleep eith my feet,out from under the covers, But My Dr, tested me for Diabetic Neuropathy, and put me on Lyrica, and The burning went away. I find that my feet and hands tend to get cold faster than they used to so I dress accordingly, Also the advice about wearing something on your head is very important up to 40% of body heat is lost without a hat, Hope this helpsI send YOU MY BEST ROBERT

vgarrison 2008-09-28 05:13:58 -0500 Report

Thank you all so much for your advice. I am kinda attached to my feet and hands so I will make sure I dress accordingly!!


tmana 2008-09-28 10:19:35 -0500 Report

I have chronic venous sufficiency in my left leg and need to wear medical compression hose year-round. I do have a source for inexpensive 20-30 wool-blend and CoolMax (gym-sock-thickness) compression hose. That being said, I find it very difficult to keep my feet feeling warm… While it is inadvisable, I usually need to put an electric blanket on a relatively high setting before sleeping, and cover that blanket with a duvet to prevent drafts from drawing away all the warmth the electric blanket provides. Even so, I've still been known to experience hypothermic episodes.

Elfin 2008-09-28 15:29:28 -0500 Report

tmama I wonder if a a reflective sheet (space blanket) under your sheet would work along with the electric blanket.It will reflect your body (and blanket)heat back to your body, this might help enclose you in warmth and keep the mattress from cooling your body. Just be careful with the electric blanket! :-)

Leigh Marsden
Leigh Marsden 2008-09-29 13:29:36 -0500 Report

I am soooo interested in finding out where to buy these socks! Fill me in please. Myself and my mate both have to wear compression socks all year through. Thanks for your input!

tmana 2008-09-30 04:24:31 -0500 Report

I get my socks from Ames Walker http://www.ameswalker.com

For everyday use and workouts, I get the RxFit (house brand) CoolMax 20-30 knee highs. They are little bit thinner than sweatsox but not much. I also like the RxFit woolblend 20-30 men's socks (key for buying men's socks for women's use: buy one size smaller). I also get the sheer hose, and I have a few pair of the women's pant sox — even though the compression is less — when I want something pretty for under pants. They always run cheaper when you buy three or more of a given RxFit model. Ames Walker also sells a number of the major brands (Medeven, Sigvaris, Jobst), but I always buy the RxFit brand.

whateverdidi 2008-09-28 02:19:57 -0500 Report

i love the winter but my body doesn't. i wear two pairs of socks in the winter months. my biggest complaint is if i accidently hit my leg anywhere, especially my knees or shin,, it hurts like mad and usually leaves a scar. but since i take an antidepressant..i am usually hot instead of cold. i also notice that i get any flu or cold that comes around. i am usually sick all the time in the winter. so i try to take a multivitamin, vit.c and zycam when that starts. I work around germs all day so its hard to keep healthy. but i love christmas so winter for me is exciting

Bluebutterfly 2008-09-28 01:59:49 -0500 Report

I have never really thought about the seasons and diabetes. I was diagnoised in 1994.I do know that I get colder than I used to. Ihave drier skin in the cold months. That is all I have noticed.Hope this helps.

Elfin 2008-09-27 22:47:06 -0500 Report

Don't forget your hands and your head when going out. Your greatest heat loss is from your head, so a stocking cap or hat keeps you from heat loss. Also your fingers in mittens will be more comfortable and warmer. Even in Florida I have to dress warmer than I used to. We keep the temp in the house low and my feet were always cold. Check out the product review for Mediped Socks…they are better for me than slippers in keeping my feet warm.

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