Jewels Doskicz is a registered nurse, freelance writer, patient advocate, health coach, and long-distance cyclist. Jewels is the moderator of Diabetic Connect’s weekly #DCDE Twitter chat, and she and her daughter both live healthfully with type 1 diabetes.

Nothing ruins a picnic quicker than food poisoning; I'm pretty certain of that.

Summertime creates changes in the way we cook and eat. According to, one in six Americans will fall ill each year from food-borne diseases. With picnics abounding, here are some tips to keep things safe.

1. Beware of germs. Handling raw meat and eating meat that is undercooked can make a person down right sick. Using clean utensils and washing hands after handling raw meat is vital. Purchase a food thermometer to determine when foods are ready to serve; the outside appearance of meat can be deceiving.

2. Take it easy on charred foods. Limiting the heat of your grill may be prudent. Charring and burnt foods have been under fire recently possibly increasing our risk of cancer.

3. Remember that hydration affects blood sugars. Keeping hydrated is not overrated in the summer — it's actually quite important, especially with diabetes. Summertime heat, humidity, and sunshine work against us.

Dehydration can have profound effects on blood sugar. As fluid in the bloodstream decreases, the concentration of glucose rises resulting on glucometers.

If you are feeling thirsty, it's usually a good indicator that you are behind the eight ball in the hydration department. Plan ahead so you don't get caught without a water source.