Diabetes Sick Day Plan
When you have diabetes and get sick, like with a cold or the flu, your blood sugar can go up. Make sure you know what to do BEFORE you get sick.
What Should I Do?
- Prevent illness– get your flu and pneumonia shots.
- Make a sick day toolkit. Being prepared is the key!
- Be ready with diabetes friendly medicines, like sugar-free cold medicine. Ask your pharmacist for help.
- Keep extra testing supplies. Test your blood sugar at least every 4 hours. If your blood sugar is 250 mg/dl or higher, you may need to test your urine or blood for
ketones. Ask your doctor if this should be part of your sick day plan.
- Keep taking your medicine. If you are on insulin, take it even if you cannot eat. Ask your doctor/ healthcare provider if you should take extra insulin, if needed.
Drink, drink, drink! Try to drink water or sugar-free, caffeine-free drinks every hour you are awake.
- Try to eat the same as usual. If you are having trouble eating, choose easy-to-eat foods like a ½ cup of regular Jell-O©/ gelatin, 1 popsicle, or 1 cup of soup. If you
cannot keep any food down and you are on insulin, drink sugary drinks (15 gm carbohydrate) every hour, like a ½ cup of juice, Sprite, or Gatorade©/ sports drink.
When Should I Call For Help?
Call your doctor/ healthcare provider if:
- You have been sick for 2 or more days and you are not getting better.
- You are vomiting or have diarrhea for more than 6 hours.
- You have moderate to large ketones in your urine or blood.
- Your blood sugar stays above 250 mg/dl, even when you take extra insulin.
When Is It An Emergency?
Call 9-1-1, or go to the Emergency Room if you have vomiting or diarrhea AND any of the problems below. These are signs of diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, which is life threatening.
Fruity/Odd Smelling Breath
Deep, Heavy Breathing
Moderate to Large Ketones
Sick Day Tool Kit
- Ketone strips
- Extra testing supplies
- Sugary drink
- Emergency food
- Sugar free medicines (cold, cough drops, etc.)
- Extra insulin (if recommended)