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Diabetes Health Center

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Diabetes 9 to 5: Tips to Help You Manage Your Diabetes at Work

Controlling symptoms is critical to controlling your diabetes. Here's how experts say you can do the job while on the job.

Diabetes on the Job: Testing Sugar Levels and Taking Insulin

At some point, you're going to need to test your blood sugar while you're on the job. Experts say a little planning can make it easier to fit doing so into your workday.

"What concerns many employers and other employees," Golden says, "is the blood and the instruments used to draw the blood. But if you prepare a discreet kit ahead of time, with a clean, neat way of disposing your lancets, there shouldn't be a problem."

She says an empty milk carton makes a great disposal system. You can keep it in a desk drawer along with a package of individually wrapped alcohol prep pads to wipe your finger before testing and to help insure both an accurate test and easy cleanup.

Sometimes it's impossible to get a minute of privacy at your desk to take your test. Then, says Golden, keeping all your supplies in a small bag makes it easier to sneak in a quick trip to the restroom. "Having everything together," she says, "will allow you to slip out and back in very quickly. Being organized is the best way to be discreet."

It may seem that using insulin on the job would be an even more difficult task. But Randall J. Urban, MD, director of the Stark Diabetes Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch, says it's not true. "The new insulin pens don't need refrigeration," Urban says. "And they can be used pretty much anywhere, very discreetly. You just need to take some time to practice."

What can also help, he says, is the new long-acting insulin. Long-acting insulin can minimize the number of injections you need over the course of a day. "This has been a fantastic advance for diabetes patients," he says. "So if you're currently not using a long acting insulin you should speak to your doctor about whether it's right for you. It can make managing diabetes in the workplace much, much easier."

If you must refrigerate your insulin and either don't have access to a refrigerator or don't want co-workers to know, products like the IceyBag can help keep your medicine cold throughout an entire day. It features a small, refreezable insert that fits in the bottom of a cooler bag, and it will stay cold for up to eight hours.

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