Sick Day Management

flu supplies

If you have diabetes, the stress of an illness can raise your blood sugar. To manage your blood sugar levels when you are sick, follow the following steps.

What to do when you get sick:

• Have a support system in place before you become ill! Everyone gets sick sometimes. Don't wait until you are sick to make a plan - if you think you don't feel like doing it now, you certainly won't if you're under the weather.
• Take your medicine. Always take your insulin as prescribed unless your blood sugar is running low and you have spoken with your healthcare provider. Keep taking oral medications as prescribed unless you are vomiting or having diarrhea.
• Drink water. Drink a lot of fluids such as water, broth, and other sugar-free beverages such as Crystal Light or Powerade Zero. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
• Check blood sugar & ketones. If you take insulin, test urine or blood ketones and blood sugar every 2-4 hours and write them down. Call healthcare provider if ketones are positive.
• Eat regularly. Eat or drink 45-60 grams of carbohydrates every 3 - 4 hours as small feedings or if you are unable to eat, then drink 15 grams of carbohydrates every hour (ex: 4 oz regular soda, ½ cup regular gelatin, 1-2 popsicles, or 4 oz regular Gatorade).
• Get help if needed.
• After you're well, go back to your plan. When you get better from a SHORT-TERM illness (1-2 days) return to your normal eating plan and medication dosage.

When to call your Cray Diabetes Center provider (doctor on call 24/7 at 913-588-6022):

• Are sick longer than 1-2 days
• Have frequent urination, or pain on urination
• Can't eat regular foods for more than one day
• Have moderate to large urine or blood ketones
• Have signs of infection: redness, warmth, swelling, drainage, tenderness
• Have a cough that produces thick yellow or green secretions
• Have dry mouth, fever, thirst, dry flushed skin, abdominal pain, rapid breathing
• Have blood sugars consistently running > 250 mg/dl
• Have vomiting and diarrhea lasting longer than 6 hours
• Have any questions about how to care for yourself and control your diabetes while you are sick
• Have questions about adjusting insulin
• Symptoms get worse

Information to have ready for healthcare provider when you call:

• Length of time you have been sick
• Your temperature 

• A list of your symptoms
• Diabetes medication (type, amount, and time of insulin)
• Other medications you take and allergies
• Pharmacy phone number
• Test results (urine ketones, blood sugar)
• Date of birth (if leaving a message)

Last modified: Oct 25, 2013