Summertime diabetes management: Swim edition

person playing on the beach

You recently heard from some of our friends in the diabetes community who shared their tips for how to wear an insulin pump in the summertime. Today they're back to talk about diabetes management tips when going swimming. If you're hitting the beach, pool or lake this weekend, make sure to read on! 

"If it's a hot day and I am getting in the water, lying in the sun, or playing in the sand, I disconnect the pump and put it in a cooler or wrapped in clothing in the shade. My son, who also has diabetes, does the same thing. If my son is unclipped, every 60 minutes or so we do a BG test and briefly reconnect his pump to do a quick bolus to replenish the missing basal insulin, adjusted for exercise of course." 
- Jeff Myers, Medtronic employee, living with diabetes for 31 years, talking about him and his 12-year-old son Benjamin who also has diabetes 

"The insertion site where the pump clips on stays on so well even in the swimming pool. I can do the same thing at the beach. Most of the time I am running around or swimming and I don't need any insulin anyway so that is why it works fine to disconnect my pump when I am playing. It works well doing this at the beach too- then I don't have to worry about getting sand in the pump or anything- I just put it in my backpack and take it out if I need to give insulin. One year when we had a beach house, we just took a pump break for a week and did shots. I think it was good for me to take a break from the pump but I was glad to have it back after the vacation. It made me realize how much harder it is to take out insulin and syringes every single time I want to eat something. I can still do all of the things my friends do in the summer, I can't wait for summer vacation!!" 
- Jack Dixon, 13 years old, living with diabetes for 8 years 

"If we are going to the lake I take several reservoirs, insulin vials, pump supplies, and a couple of insulin pens (one long acting and one short acting). If we know that we are going to be swimming or on a raft for several hours, I detach my pump so it won't get wet. For longer periods of time, I use a back-up insulin pen as directed by my doctor.
- John Berry, 40 years old, living with diabetes for 8 years 

"As far as swimming goes, I just remove my insulin pump, and place it in 2 dry Ziploc bags, first one, then the other, (that's my Diabetes OCD kicking in). Then I place it in a dry, waterproof lunch bag that goes in my mini cooler, (same goes for my spare pump batteries and glucose meter) which always sits under a beach umbrella or the under carriage of my friend's Baby Jogger. And then my friends watch my mini cooler while I go swimming! Wearing a pump might take a little bit more planning when it comes to fun in the sun - But it's so worth it! And this beach girl is NEVER going back to shots! Oh, one more thing: Don't forget to wear your sunscreen!" 
-Kelly Kunik, living with diabetes for 35 years 


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 sf newby (not verified) on

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Great read. I thought that I could only remove my pump for 30 min. That was around 16 years ago

Submitted by Sara Tilleskjor (not verified) on

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Thanks for sharing your swim tips with us, Sylvia and Jennifer! I'm glad to hear you've found solutions to keep your child's pump and supplies dry while they're swimming!

Submitted by Jennifer Lord (not verified) on

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I have a 11 year old fish. We use the small Tegaderm IV site covers in the pool, the ocean and the bay to cover the infusion set and rarely do we have a problem with them falling out. We do not use any additional IV prep or NuSkin, (We tried them all), and found Tegaderm was the best solution for our active water boy.

We use an insulated lunchbox to store the pump and spare supplies...Murphy's Law... You never know ;)

Submitted by Sylvia (not verified) on

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My 3 year old son is on the pump! we just came back from vacation where we spent a majority of our time on the beach. Like many others, the amount of activity took place of the basal he was missing out on while disconnected. I purchased a waterproof (militray grade) case to store his pump in to avoid any sand or water getting to was also big enough to hold his meter as well as my cell phone. The case is called Pelican 1050 and comes in many different sizes. :)

Submitted by Eileen (not verified) on

In reply to by Sylvia (not verified)

No problems with the insulin in the pump getting too hot ? I'm new to this. Thanks.

Submitted by Krista Presotto (not verified) on

In reply to by Sylvia (not verified)

What do people do about their Sensor when swimming? I disconnected my pump and went swimming only to have alarms go off because my pump and sensor were too far apart. Should I turn off my sensor?

Submitted by Don Norbeck (not verified) on

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While waterproofing the Pump would be great. I still disconnect while surfing but I do find it challenging for the infusion set to last more than 1/2 hour in the water especially when surfing, Lots of direct contact between the board/wetsuit/rash guard and the insertion point. So I also bring another set to the beach and do a quick change of the infusion set/only and reconnect that way no messing with insulin at the beach and I get a good new connection.

Submitted by Valerie larichiuta (not verified) on

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I have started water therapy and aerobic classes back to back for a total of hour and half In Water! The problem I am having is the part of infusion set that stays connected to my body he tape cannot withstand the water and the classes are three times a week so I cannot keep putting on a new set or I will run out of them before the insurance will cover new ones! Any suggestions?

Submitted by Karrie Hawbaker (not verified) on

In reply to by Valerie larichiuta (not verified)

Valerie, I'm sorry to hear this. I've asked someone from our 24 HelpLine to give you a call to discuss this and any tips we might have to help.

Submitted by WILLIAM O'NEILL (not verified) on

In reply to by Karrie Hawbaker (not verified)

I am having the same problem. I want to be able to swim for 30 minutes a day. But either the CGM or my infusion set get loose. i am using IV prep and 2 x IV 3000 tapes for the CGM but it does not hold up for 6 days. Today my one day old CGM came complete out. The infusion sets only stay in for 2-3 days, but still sometimes get loose, which ends my swim. Sometimes after only 10 yards.
I love to swim and it is very good for me. What do you recommend?

Submitted by Karrie Hawbaker (not verified) on

In reply to by WILLIAM O'NEILL (not verified)

William, this is a great conversation to have with our 24 HelpLine. I will ask them to reach out to you to discuss.

Submitted by WILLIAM O'NEILL (not verified) on

In reply to by Karrie Hawbaker (not verified)

I called them myself, but do you have any general suggestions. It is very frustrating not to be able to swim.

Submitted by Charlene (not verified) on

In reply to by WILLIAM O'NEILL (not verified)

William did you find a solution, I'm having the same difficulty with my sensor and I love to swim 3 times a week. Thanks for any help. I've tried the different tapes and glues they sent but really no difference. It is so frustrating!

Submitted by Karrie Hawbaker (not verified) on

In reply to by Charlene (not verified)

I'm sorry you're still having trouble, Charlene. I'd like to connect you with a senior teammate to ensure we've explored all of your options. Please send your contact info to and I'll have someone reach out to you and see how we can help.

Submitted by Kim Lang (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I am not worried about what I can and can't do with my pump, but I will be boating and swimming in a lake. Are that any concerns about my insertion sites and bacteria in the water? Any info would be helpful. I am 6 months into living with a pump and am pretty active. No worries about anything until this thought.


Submitted by Karrie Hawbaker (not verified) on

In reply to by Kim Lang (not verified)

Hi Kim, when in the open water we suggest using the cover cap that came with your infusion set. This will help protect your insertion site while disconnected.

Submitted by Adrienne Liander (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

I'm always worried about theft if I leave my 530G at on the beach or poolside so don't swim anymore. I can hardly wait to upgrade to the waterproof 630G in 2 years.

Submitted by Mary Dreiman (not verified) on

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You talk about the cap to prevent bacteria. My tape gets wet so I assume the water is getting in to the plastic inserted in my skin. Any opinions? Also, i have used the tagaderm along with the other things to make the adhesive better. It still does not help when I stay in water for any period of time. This stuff is expensive and insurance does not cover extra. What do I do to be able to swim?

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