Snorkeling carries it’s own hurdles to do for a type 1. I love snorkeling and wasn’t going to give it up just because of being a type 1. Although I have made concessions along the way.
When I first was misdiagnosed as a type 2 and I was put on insulin and I tried to snorkel, I actually did not know the huge pitfalls of lows or highs. I was literally handed Lantus and told to start taking it without any guidance other than start out at 10 units and add 2 units every couple of days until it works. So of course the first attempts at snorkeling I crashed bad after snorkeling and quickly learned to start out at a higher BG level and cut back on how much Lantus I was taking. Progress a few years, fast acting insulin added, properly diagnosed type 1.
That first time was the hardest, it then took some trial and error to figure out the best route for me, which might not be the same for someone else…
1) Ginger candy for me or another quick acting sugar in a waterproof container. The first time I used it out in the water it had leaked…yuk salt water ginger candy.
2) Start out higher than you like because you will drop, in my case I start at 130-150. It’s hard to get an exact number to go in the water when I have to boost my normal Bg level and I want to avoid taking insulin before I swim.
3) I do a 50% Temp basal reduce on my pump a half hour before I start for 2 hours. . I had read it’s better to stop the rebound high afterwards by doing a temp basal decrease instead of suspending basal altogether. That does seem to help stop it. I might try to reduce that a little more as I have come out of the water at 75-80 sometimes, but I believe that is when I have started out at my lower level range. So I am now thinking about varying the temp reduction with my start number.
4) I limit my snorkeling to about an hour. This is one of the concessions I have made being a type 1. I used to be able to swim forever with no thought to Bg levels. I can’t really tell when I’m going too low snorkeling. Once I was shivering, that anxiety feeling, so I got out and my Bg level was 90 so I must have just been cold. One time I got a tremendous headache I got out and I was 65. But an hour seems to be a safe number. I have been known to chomp a few pieces of candy to stay a little longer.
5) You should always go out with a pal. I say that and I have taken to snorkeling by myself now sometimes. But I am snorkeling consistently now. Again the first time was scary. But the areas I go by myself have a lifeguard(s) in sight, hopefully if I start waving my arms they would spot me, but also where standing up in the water isn’t that far away.
**6)**I keep closer to shore or a boat. I used to follow reefs way out into the ocean and while some areas I go are a little farther out, that is in areas I have been closer and experimented with before I stray farther out.
This disease is unpredictable and allowances have to be made, I start out higher, I limit time. Sometimes I have exited the water at 75, sometimes at 120. I hate going into the water at 150, but it’s safer to be too high than too low. You can’t always tell how much work it’s going to take in the water with the currents etc. But I am blessed to now be in an area where it has some of the easiest waters to snorkel in.
I am also thinking about adding a Libre to my Dexcom lol…They have improved waterproof holders. I have one for my iphone now and I was hoping when out in the ocean I could keep my arm out of the water long enough to get a reading from my Dexcom. But that hasn’t worked at all. It would be so nice to be able to see my Bg level when I am out in the middle of the ocean.
When I wore a Libre, it handled the ocean just fine (for me) I would get a reading as soon as I got to my car by scanning. The Dexcom wants to download all the missed data so it takes time to get a reading. So even holding my arm up out of the water hasn’t worked. But I don’t want to give up my Dexcom. So I am thinking about getting a Libre too, put the reader into a waterproof pouch so I can scan when I am out there by just lifting my arm out of the water. When I had my Libre the waterproof containers were hard containers so you couldn’t press any buttons and they weren’t completely reliable to chance taking expensive equipment into the ocean. Now they have pouches that have worked really well.
Be aware neither Dexcom or Libre guarantee their sensors/transmitters for being in salt water. I have heard someone had trouble with their Libre going after being in salt water. I have never had a problem yet, but it doesn’t mean it won’t. Just like your iphone might be water resistant, but drop it in the ocean and it’s potentially a different story.
So I am thinking about wearing a Libre too. If anyone has any input to getting a BG while you are out in the ocean swimming I would appreciate it!
And if anyone has any input on how they handle snorkeling or even swimming in a pool, I would love to know how you handle it!