At The Beach

I’ve been diabetic for over ten years now and have had a pump for almost 10. But there’s one thing that I haven’t quite figured out, and that gets me all worried.

A day at the beach. I would so love to enjoy it but I am always stressing about sand, too hot sunshine, too much water, people staring at my set on my abdomen.

Am I worried too much? What do you all do with swimwear, suncream, swimming, tanning, etc?
I would just love to wear a bikini without worrying about people seeing my set, lie in the hot sun and not worry about absorption, and just chill out.

I hung out at the beach last summer but didn’t want to bother destroying infusion sets, losing CGM telemetry, etc. so the only time I swam was when I took surfing lessons for a couple of hours. It seemed to be pretty strenuous exercise as my BG stayed very flat but I the infusion site was about to fall off when I stopped. Mostly drank beer, threw footballs around and hung out. Which is ok. I’d have liked to swim more but I am addicted to the gizmos. Sorry I don’t have a good solution for you!

I’ve been wondering about that too. I guess it would matter how long a stay you planned. I think if it was just a couple hours I would disconnect and just increase my basal a bit before and after to compensate. I went to a tropical beach area once when I was on MDIs and my insulin needs went down to nearly nothing from the increased heat so a little less insulin I think would be no biggie. Then you don’t have to worry about the pump and can just test to make sure all is good. If it was an all day kind of thing that would be different I would think. If you wanted to stay connected and were uncomfortable displaying your pump, how about putting it in a spibelt and wearing it around your hip. That wouldn’t work with a teeny bikini of course.

I’m a guy so that probably makes it a bit easier, but I go to the beach a lot and I simply disconnect and enjoy. I am careful about not eating and make sure I get in the water and stay active. My numbers are always really, really good. I can go several hours but if I’m out of the water and sitting still I test to see where things are.
I am like you in one sense - I have never told anyone I’m D in 51 years so I will do everything to not draw attention to myself. It’s not that hard on the beach because people are interested in other stuff.
Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about people noticing your site. Most people are busy with other things so go about your business, have fun and soak it all in.

I feel your pain. I love, love, love the beach and the pump is a big time pain. I really don’t have any hints, but I do wear a takini bathing suit which helps.

My sister in Atlanta is setting up a beach vacation in FL in June and wants me to come, but I think of all the hassle and now I have to add being old to the equation as well :stuck_out_tongue:

They are staring at my abs, not my infusion set and CGM!! :slight_smile:

Why not just go “untethered.” There is no reason not to just inject a basal and spend the day at the beach without an insertion set, sensor, pump or CGMS. Google “untethered insulin.”

As to people staring at your abdomen, it never bothered me, they can’t take their eyes off my strange face.

I can’t imagine being hooked up with my pump at the beach this summer. I am thinking I will disconnect because of sand, surfing, etc. I am very salty and sandy post-beach. I do plan on laying out and swimming in my pool, in which case I will have to consider to connect or disconnect… I got a water-proof pump for a reason…

Good luck with the beach this summer!

Yes, you are worried too much!

Wear a bikini and act as though your set isn’t there. Almost everyone else will too and for the ones who stare or ask just tell them very matter-of-factly what it is and keep smiling, having a good time.

IOW, if you treat it like it’s normal and not really a big deal, others will too.

I lived on a sailboat for 5 years and had plenty of time on the beach, in the water and being sandy and salty. Just take care, carry a coupe of extra infusion sets and your meter, glucose tabs etc. Disconnect to go for a swim.

Fair Winds,

Haven’t done the beach yet, but did “live” at Schlitterbahn waterpark last summer with my MM pump. Used the Aquapac for the pump, worked wonderful - did not have to unteather (bad news for me). I have read about people using the Aquapac for pumps at the beach even when using waterproof pump for additional protection. I like my tankini bathing suit, easier than one piece. Lots of extra tape for the just in case site begins to loosen, glued site down with skin-tac, mastisol - worked good in river water for 3 days. Aquapac is worn as a belt, so no problem with pump not staying clipped. I saw 3 other people there, one teen in cute bikini, unteathered but site for all to see no problem, 2 adults, both unteathered but sites visible. Why worry? It’s our life! And I’d rather be pumping than not!

I was trying to find an article I read once before about some diabetics who regularly switch between MDI & pump therapy. Some of these patients do extreme sports (such as kayaking several hours in rough waters~ hate to lose your pump in the river) or there’s this post I found about a girl who didn’t want to bother with all the pump supplies when she traveled Scotland. Obviously, it would take some trial runs & it might not be ideal for some people.

I, on the other hand place my site on my upper bum, right below my bikini line, but not too low so that i’m not flashing everyone when I connect/disconnect. My CGM is also placed strategically on the opposite side of said bum. :slight_smile: If you’re in the water (disconnected) more than an hour, make sure to check your sugar, correct it, disconnect & then jump back in.

I also try to bring a cold pack with a semi-filled pump cartridge of insulin & a syringe so that if I happen to lose a site at the beach, I can keep with with a shot or two of novolog till I can get back & insert a new site (without having to deal with the sand/beach water). Hope some of this helps!

i’m headed to australia this year for 6 months, so surfing is definitely on my list of things to do! what happens if you have a low out in the middle of the water though?

thanks so much for your ideas! much appreciated. would you disconnect before you left your house, or if at the beach, where would you put your pump?

my old infusion sets used to have a stopper for where it disconnects, but my current MM paradigm doesn’t…so i’m worried sand would get in it or something. sounds stupid, but as it’s such pricey technology i don’t want to break it :slight_smile:

Thanks for the advice! That makes a lot of sense :slight_smile:

A tankini is a good idea, but I can never find one that I like.

I hope you find this thread useful so you can go on vacation with your sister - sounds lovely!

Thanks for the tip :slight_smile:

I will definitely be needing to change my attitude to people seeing my infusion set for sure! It’s senseless to not enjoy myself because I am too worried about it…

Taking extra infusion sets and everything in a cool bag might be the way forward :slight_smile:

I was running a little low beforehand but had a 30G gatorady drink I bought @ a taqueria that jacked me back up to like 120 and I just turned the pump off and gave it to my landborn uncle. Swimming has always killed me and it was a lot of paddle out, flail on the board back in for 10 seconds, paddle out for 5-10 min (lugging a surfboard…) and 10 seconds back in. I didn’t really worry about it but was back down in the 70s. I just made sure I didn’t have any insulin on board and ate. I was running low on snacks so when I felt myself drifing lowish I just stopped. Probably not my best day but it was still a lot of fun and those two seconds I was up were really cool?


Great idea for the cold pack! I’ve always wondered about whether the high temperatures at the beach would denature the insulin or anything…but if i put it in a fridge pack then that’s one less worry.