Diabetes Sick Days
Everyone gets the occasional flu or cold but if you have
diabetes, more attention needs to be given to caring for yourself when you get
sick. Blood sugar can become elevated when you are sick even if you have not eaten
because your body is stressed. Follow these tips when feeling
sick to better control blood sugar.
- Test blood sugar more often. Your doctor may
recommend testing every 3-4 hours.
- The doctor may also ask you to check for ketone bodies in
your urine, especially if blood sugar is over 240 mg/dl. Using a
special type of test strip, dip the stick in urine, wait 15
seconds and compare the results with the color chart. If it appears
you do have ketones in the urine, contact your doctor.
- Continue to take medication - insulin or oral
medications regardless of whether you can eat. It may be necessary to adjust
the dosage of your medication on sick days. Talk to your doctor at the
next visit to plan ahead for these changes.
- Eat regular food if possible.
- Choose regular calorie beverages/foods if unable to take in
foods due to nausea or vomiting. Examples include regular soda, regular gelatin,
and sherbet. Speak with your
dietitian to plan which foods to have on hand for sick days.
- Consume plenty of caffeine free liquids every hour to
The key to diabetes sick days is planning ahead. Discuss sick
days with your health care team and have a plan ready before an illness
hits. When you do have an illness, contact your diabetes educator or
doctor with questions or any changes in your health.
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