Summer diabetes management routines: Fashion edition

sandals on the beach

Summertime brings warmer weather, which means a lighter wardrobe of skirts, shorts and swimwear. So, we asked some of our friends in the diabetes online community for some tips on how they wear their insulin pumps with summer fashion. Read what they had to say, then tell us your own tips in the comments! 

"I wear sundresses and skirts a lot in the summer, and I wear my insulin pump. I wear a garter for my pump around my leg when I wear dresses or skirts and it works great! And if you don't have a garter, try the Spanx or bikeshorts, they also do the trick! At the beach, I've found that a bikini or a V-Neck one piece swimsuit works excellent with my pump! Bikinis allow you to clip your pump to your hip and V-Neck one pieces allow you to clip your pump in the front - and as a bonus, V-Neck one pieces give the illusion of extra curves in the process
- Kelly Kunik, living with diabetes for 35 years 

"I am no longer a "true" bikini wearer (age and 2 children put those days behind me)! I now opt for "tankinis" which actually work great for my pump. When I am beach or pool side I simply clip my pump to the bikini style bottoms, but the length of the top allows for my pump to be slightly covered- keeping it away from too much sun screen, sand, and water exposure. It also allows for fairly discreet disconnection/reconnection for when I am ready to be in the water." 
- Cheryl Cormany, Medtronic employee, 32 years old and living with diabetes for 27 years 

"If I'm just running or walking along the beach, I'll clip the pump on my shorts/swim trunks. For other outdoor summer activities, I just clip it my belt, or put it in a small fanny pack. My son who also has diabetes does the same thing. If he's not in the water, the pump is clipped to shorts." 
- Jeff Myers, Medtronic employee, living with diabetes for 31 years, talking about him and his 12-year-old son Benjamin who also has diabetes 

"When I wear skirts or sundresses, I have bike shorts on underneath. They are sturdy enough to hold the pump with the clip. I haven't quite figured out how to get to my pump with a dress on, so I usually just hit the ladies room to enter in my BG and carbs." 
-Sydney Gambrill, 12 years old, living with diabetes for 5 years 

This is the first part of our series on summertime diabetes management routines, so be sure to check back as the temperature rises here on The LOOP! 

Editors note: These are personal experiences from each of the individuals based on their own diabetes management. We can't recommend or guarantee any of the tips or the products mentioned so be sure to work with your healthcare team as you make your plans for the summer.

- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems. - Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day. - Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
- The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment. - Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected. For more information, please visit:

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Submitted by Donna (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I do all the above, but sometimes I wear a dress or skirt that has pockets I take a seam ripper and take out some of the stitches and then put the pump thru the hole in the pocket and attach it to either the inside or outside of the pocket.

Submitted by Mindy Merwitzer (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I have had diabetes for 27 years and pump wearing for about 10 years. I normally keep my pump in a pocket and hope that the weather wont disconnect me from my pump. When I put on a swim suit I put my pump between my breasts.

Submitted by Scott (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I have had diabetes for 43 years and worm a pump for 15 years.
I place it in a velcro strap (provided by Medtronics) and wear it around my hips under my pants.It has served me well

Submitted by Barbara Young (not verified) on

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I live in Florida and it is always summer here! The important thing about summer and hot weather is taking the time to wipe off the exterior of the pump. We are sweatier and use more sunscreen. Inevitably it gets on the pump. I use a damp washcloth and dry immediately. I also take a washcloth or hand towel to the pool or beach ( especially on a cruise) and may un hook the pump from my waist and place it under the towel beside me. It is more comfortable if lying down and i can always put my pump under it when i get into the water. While wearing a dress, I put the pump in my bra between my boobs. Easy access& discreet.

Submitted by Angelica Koder (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I'm not real shy about letting my pump be seen if I can I hide it in my clothing I will such as, clipping to the inside of my shorts and skirts, clipping to my bra if I'm wearing a v cut one for dresses. As far as bikinis go I just clip it to my hip or hold it in my hand if I'm laying out. Any tips on tan lines from the port sites?!?! Lol

Submitted by Teresa Vaught (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

What do you do with your infusion set while you are swimming? Do you cap it off somehow? If so where can you buy the caps?

Submitted by Louisa Turner (not verified) on

In reply to by Teresa Vaught (not verified)

I am just too modest for a bikini I prefer skirted one piece suits so I put my infusion set into my thigh so I'm able to disconnect easier if I go into the water without hiking my suit up to disconnect or having to go into a ladies room to pull my top down to disconnect at my abdomen.

Submitted by Kerry (not verified) on

In reply to by Teresa Vaught (not verified)

My infusion sets come with a cap.

Submitted by Jesus Sandoval (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I started to ride my bike. Should I take off my pump while riding my back or what is the best way to avoid any damage to it in case of falling out of me. I RODE THE TOUR THE CURE IN COLUMBUS OHIO ON JUNE 8th AND WHILE I WAS RIDING IT I TOOK IT OFF FOR ABOUT 4 hour because I was afraid of losing it. What is the best way to carry my pump while riding my bike.

Submitted by June S. (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I am wondering if any of you has an idea as to how to wear a Medtronic Revel 523 with CGMS along with a sundress or, for that matter, any dress. Since I need to frequently turn off alarms on my CGMS by pressing buttons, putting that pump in a garter means that I would need to constantly lift up my dress in order to see the Hi and Lo blood glucose alarms (and predicted alarms.) That is unacceptable, in polite society!

Submitted by Laura Zufan (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

The only way I have found to wear a sun dress is also with a pair of shorts underneath my sun dress also. Skirts and shorts are much easier to wear. Swimming I find much harder to do because I have no trouble finding a swimsuit but if I want to go swimming with my husband I either have to wear the water proof container for my pump which I find very hard to work with or I have to unhook the pump and then I can only unhook for a period of an hour at a time. There are times I just fell it's easier not to swim and we like to go snorkeling. I just got The Medtronic Paradigm and I thought that I could shower in it and I can't. I told them I did want a water proof one but I guess Medicare and blue cross wouldn't pay for one. I just thank god that I do have a meter because my diabetics is a lot more controlled then it was with shots. I have had diabetics for 30 years. I pray every night for a cure...

Submitted by Kim Detwiler (not verified) on

In reply to by Laura Zufan (not verified)

Laura, if I'm going to go snorkeling and be at the beach all day, I use a long acting insulin to cover my basal rate for the day. I leave my pump site on and keep my pump in a cooler. When it's time to eat or give a bolus, I just plug it back in and give a bolus. I always have messed up sugars when I take my pump off to go swimming or snorkeling for a while. This method seems to work better for me.

Submitted by Sheila Green (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I have had type 1 for 59 years - pumping for 10 years - and I am STILL very conscious about people seeing my pump ! I now live in Florida and find it so hard to conceal the just seems like this awkward thing on my hip, waist, an extra square boob...I am always knocking it on things....its uncomfortable when I lie on it.....? any suggestions?

Submitted by amanda buffenbarger (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

when I wear my insulin pump in the summer I had it under a long t-shirt no matter what I'm doing. I went camping with it biking hiking and I like that it can be disconnected whenever you go out for a swim or just to cool off in the water hose. 20 years old

Submitted by naomi.kingery@… on

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Thank you all for sharing your tips with us! I’m sorry it took so long to get them posted and responded to, we were having technical issues with this blog.
@ Teresa, you can disconnect your insulin pump while swimming. Using an infusion set cap isn’t required, but these caps come with most of our infusion sets in the packaging so feel free to use them for swimming.
@ Jesus, I think your question comes down to personal preference and the recommendations of your healthcare team. Some tuck their pump into the spandex of their shorts or wear it in a pump case clipped on to their waist. You can also check out the different cases and clips we offer here:
@June and Sheila Great question! Feel free to visit our website to learn more about the options on where you can wear your insulin pump For an extra laugh about the topic of wearing an insulin pump and feeling self-conscious, you might enjoy this from guest blogger Maggie Hunts
@ Laura, Just as a reminder, Medtronic insulin pumps are rated water resistant, but not waterproof, so while typically they’re fine in the case of an accidental splash or dunk, we don’t recommend submerging them in water. You can find more information about water activities here:…

I am very enjoyed for this blog. I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me..

Rahad, I’m so glad you enjoying reading this blog article and found it helpful! We continue to try to meet the needs of our community with different types of posts. Is there something you would like to see more of?

Submitted by Kate (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I'm a beach bum, and the idea of being on the beach and NOT in the ocean is simply inconceivable to me. However, the lack of security on your average beach (let's be honest, there really isn't any) made the idea of disconnecting and leaving the pump while I went in the water kind of frightening.

A few years ago, I invested in a marvelous little device that was designed for underwater audio recording. It was a clear plastic bag with a special closure that seals around the wire of a microphone. I tried it out and it worked beautifully with the pump. It sealed around the tubing, and the soft, clear plastic let me work the pump from the outside without having to take it out of the bag. (It's also handy for slipping some cash and your hotel key card inside with the pump, so you don't have to leave them unattended either.) To wear, I just slip it up under the leg opening of my suit, or in the bra portion.

I always check before I use it by placing some cotton balls in the bag, sealing it, then submerging it in the sink for about 5 minutes. If the cotton balls stay dry, I'm good.

Submitted by Juli Durrett (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I try to get dresses with pockets. I make a small buttonhole in the pocket. The pump goes in my pocket and I thread the tubing through the buttonhole and connect it to my site. No need for straps or garters. If you don't sew, you can iron on some fusible fabric patches and cut a slit in the Fabric just large enough for the tubing and connector. When pockets aren't an option, I wear the pump in my bra. Putting the pump in an infant-sized sock absorbs sweat and makes it a little more comfortable and less lumpy.

Submitted by Eric Lovelis (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

Do you all use to cover the infusion or cgm sites? I look at water and the things come off

Submitted by Shawn (not verified) on

In reply to by Eric Lovelis (not verified)

This is a very delayed response, as I just found this site. I use Skin Tac Wipes first, wipe on and they leave a sticky barrier, then apply a 3M 2 3/8" by 2 3/4" Tegaderm Film, then my site, followed by a Smith and Nephew Infusion Set IV 3000 (c-shaped film to cover my site), and finally remove any left over stickiness around the area with Skin Prep (also Smith and Nephew). Several steps, but does a reasonably good job of keeping my pump on unless I am super-duper sweaty.

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