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Sick-Day Rules

Date Posted: 5/7/2019 12:00:00 AM

Best Practices for People with Diabetes to Deal with Illness

When you’re sick, even if it is simply a seasonal cold, your blood glucose may rise, therefore...  

  • Continue taking your diabetes medication unless your health care team instructs you otherwise.
  • Do not take “over the counter” cold or flu medicine before checking with your health care team.
  • Continue your normal meal plan. If you cannot stomach eating, instead try fruit juice, regular gelatin, or frozen juice bars as suggested by your health care team.  Do your best to eat or drink 50 grams of carbohydrates every 3 to 4 hours.
  • Drink plenty of water and/or other sugar-free liquids, to keep from getting dehydrated.  If you can only tolerate liquids, drink 8 oz. of liquids every hour while awake, alternating sugar-containing liquids one hour with sugar-free liquids the next hour.
  • Check your blood glucose as often as suggested by your health care team.
  • Ask your health care team if it is okay for you to take sugar-free cough drops and syrups.
  • If you use insulin, adjust the dosage according to your sick-day plan. Don not skip insulin. You need insulin even if you cannot eat your normal meals.  If you take pills, take the normal dose of medication unless your health care team instructs you to stop.
  • Make sure that someone is checking in on you several times a day.

 Call your health care provider if you…

  • are unable to hold down food or fluids
  • have persistent diarrhea (more than 6 hours)
  • have a fever of 100 degrees or above
  • are experiencing abdominal pain
  • are experiencing persistent hyperglycemia with or without ketones
  • blood glucose level is higher than 240 mg/dL after you have taken extra insulin (if recommended in your sick-day plan)
  • you take oral medication for diabetes, and your blood glucose is higher than 240 mg/dL before a meal and stays that high for more than 24 hours.
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