Having Type 1 Diabetes is a full-time job – there are no breaks, there are no off days. When mistakes are made, they come at the detriment of your health, both mental and physical. I’ve been living with this condition for the last 5 years and while I haven’t let it dictate my life, it has been a constant feature in anything and everything I do. It’s sort of this constant hum in the back of your head – what’smybloodsugardidItaketoomuchinsulinmaybeIdidn’ttakeenoughwhat’smybloodsugar? It never really goes away, but you do start to learn how to tune it out so you can focus on living your life. 

That’s something that I feel as though I can handle. When it’s just me vs my blood sugars, I’m usually pretty confident that I can come out on top – it’s when I’m around other people that I find that things get a bit more complicated. Because it’s no big deal to inject yourself as many times as you need to when you’re alone, or inhale an entire box of orange juice during a low blood sugar in your own kitchen, but it’s a whole different story when you’re out with your friends and you feel your blood sugars starting to dip.

On more than one occasion, I’ve felt the all-too-familiar signs of a low blood sugar coming on and not spoken up about it or even asked for help. I’d just try to stop my hands from shaking and wipe off the beads of sweat starting to form as I hunted for a source of sugar. If you’ve ever seen me go really quiet on a night out before ordering a Coca-Cola and then chugging the entire thing in about three seconds, I was probably having a low blood sugar (no one’s that thirsty). 

I do this quietly mostly because I don’t want to be an inconvenience, or worse still, be seen as overdramatic. People hear the term ‘low blood sugar’ and pass it off as something minor, when really an untreated low blood sugar can lead to you fainting, and even dying in some really severe cases. 

I remember being late to a meeting and explaining how I had had a low blood sugar on the way, which caused me to have to stop and pick up a sugary drink from a convenience store. It was 100% true, and I was still trying to recover from it at that very moment, but out of the corner of my eye I caught a couple of people rolling their eyes – as though I was making it out to be a bigger deal than it was. Granted, they probably had no idea about Type 1 Diabetes or low blood sugars or daily injections, about carb counting or glucose meters or test strips, about HbA1cs or the difference between short and long acting insulin.

But that shouldn’t be an excuse. So if you’re going to take away anything from this article, let it be this: If you don’t know the reality of what a person is going through, reserve your judgement. Little interactions can leave a mark and make things even more difficult for people who already have a lot on their plate.

Hear more about Sheena’s experience here.

Did you know that your phone could be housing ten times more bacteria than the average toilet seat? Yup, you’re carrying around a germ-ridden device all day, every day, everywhere. Ew!

How, you ask? Toilet seats are often associated with germs and because of that, are cleaned frequently while other commonly touched devices such as phones, laptops and tablets are left out from the cleaning routine. This is based on research carried out by scientists at the University of Arizona eight years ago – imagine how much filthier our devices could be now given that we’ve become increasingly more attached and reliant on technology?

With the Coronavirus outbreak, this gives us some food for thought towards our personal hygiene, especially when we can’t keep our hands off these germ magnets, but hold on! Before you start freaking out, phones aren’t the main cause of spreading disease. Coronavirus, like most respiratory viruses, are primarily spread through coughs and sneezes. But if respiratory droplets were to land on your phone, the virus could possibly live up to 96 hours on it.

Sanitising your phone regularly might not be such a bad idea after all, but most importantly, wash your hands regularly. If not, you’re just re-contaminating your phone and other devices as soon as you touch them again.

Time to pickup some good tech hygiene habits

Regardless of a pandemic, your devices are in need of some serious cleaning. But how do we clean them when they’re sensitive to cleaning products? Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to soak them in soap and water or pour gooey hand sanitizer over it.

Below are some steps that will keep your devices as clean as possible without damaging them. Do these steps regularly and make it a habit for a more hygienic lifestyle!

  1. Cleaning your phone and tablet

Antibacterial wipes or rubbing alcohol are great for sanitising your phones and tablets and can be easily found at the pharmacy. If you’re using rubbing alcohol, apply it to a cotton pad and gently rub along the screen and chasis of your phone.  If you have a case for your phone or tablet, be sure to take it off and clean it separately – you can use the same method to clean your case or you can wash it thoroughly with soap and water for extra reassurance.

2. Cleaning your laptop and desktop PC peripherals

As laptops travel with you more, so does its chances of picking up unwanted dirt and germs. But that doesn’t mean your desktop PC is safe – just like a laptop, a desktop PC can still collect dust from our surroundings, grime from dead skin cells, and germs from our own hands.

Start by turning off and unplugging your laptop or desktop PC.

Keyboard: Turn the laptop or keyboard upside down and gently shake it over a bin, then wipe down the remaining dust with a microfibre cloth. A great way to help you remove dust gently in hard to reach crevices is by using a soft brush, like a large makeup brush.

Once you’ve given it a proper wipe, we recommend using rubbing alcohol to disinfect them instead of antibacterial wipes as you need to use as little moisture as possible, but it’s still fine if that’s your only option. Another secret is to apply rubbing alcohol to cotton buds to reach those crevices between your keys.

Screen/monitor: Just like the keyboard, wipe off dust using a microfiber cloth before rubbing it down with rubbing alcohol or antibacterial cloth.

Mouse: Your mouse spends most of its time in your hand, skittering across the desk. This causes it to pick up a lot of dirt – especially at the mouse feet – from your desk or your hand. Use the same rubbing alcohol or antibacterial wipes, run it over the surface and feet of the mouse. Don’t forget to clean the cords as well! FYI, a toothpick works great at picking out dirt from cracks and crevices.

3. Cleaning your earphones and headphone

For earphones, use a blue-tack to stick to and remove dirt from it or a toothpick to gently scrape off dirt – a fine brush also works great. Don’t forget to apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton bud and give it a final wipe after that.

Headphones, on the other hand are different, as they sit over your ears instead of inside. Unfortunately, the material used for the ear cups isn’t always the same, so we recommend referring to the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging them. However, in most cases, a quick wipe on the ear cups using antibacterial wipes is enough to clean it. As for the solid surfaces, buttons and cables – rubbing alcohol will also do the job.

Bonus: Cleaning you game controller

A game controller spends its entire time in your hands whenever in use and becomes a magnet for dead skin cells. Just like the mouse, give it a quick wipe over the surface, buttons and cable with antibacterial wipes or rubbing alcohol. Then use a toothpick to remove any gunk stuck in between the crevices.

Clean regularly

It’s less work to clean your devices if you do it regularly as you don’t give the dirt time to settle in and get caked into the grime. Let’s not forget that it’s also more hygienic, especially for devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops as they are regularly exposed to your hands.