Sick Day Management

If you have diabetes, managing your blood sugar is more challenging when you have an infection like a cold or the flu; even if you are not eating your normal foods. The following steps can be used as a plan of action for sick days to help you successfully manage your glucose:

  • Test your blood sugar more often.
  • Communicate with your healthcare team. You may need to change medicine doses, especially insulin. Even if you do not normally take insulin, you may need it during other illnesses.
  • Stay hydrated. If you cannot eat your normal food choices, it's okay. Replace carbohydrates through clear liquids such as diluted apple, cranberry, or grape juice; diluted regular pop; real Jello alternated with sugar-free; real popsicles alternated with sugar-free; clear broth (no noodles, rice, or crackers); tea; coffee with no milk or creamer; water. remember to choose liquids that you can see through; no orange juice, prune juice, or tomato juice.
  • DO NOT STOP TAKING YOUR INSULIN. When in doubt, call your healthcare team for advice.
  • If hypogllycemia threatens (low blood sugar below 70), suck on hard candies or sip at diluted clear juice to bring it up.
  • If hyperglycemia persists (high blood sugar above 250), call your healthcare team for advice.
  • Do not try to exercise off high blood sugars when you are ill.
  • You can't keep down sips of clear liquids.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea persists.
  • You have pain or fever or trouble breathing.
  • You can't stay awake or think clearly.
  • Blood sugar is consistently above 300 or below 70.