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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Sick-Day Guidelines for People With Diabetes
When you are sick, your body reacts by releasing
hormones to fight infection. But these hormones raise
blood sugar levels and at the same time make it more difficult for
insulin to lower blood sugar. When you have
diabetes, even a minor illness can lead to dangerously
high blood sugar. This may cause life-threatening complications, such as
diabetic ketoacidosis or a
Work with your doctor or diabetes educator to make a sick-day plan for you
or your child who has diabetes. Discuss your target blood sugar goal during an
illness, how you should adjust your insulin dose and timing (if you take
insulin), and when you need to contact your doctor for help. Also, make sure
you know how often to check blood sugar and ketone levels. Keep your plan
in a convenient place, and include contact information in case you need to
reach your doctor at night or on the weekends.
Here are some
general sick-day guidelines:
Minor illnesses in people with diabetes—especially children with
type 1 diabetes—can lead to very high blood sugar
levels and possible emergencies. When children are sick, watch them closely for
signs that they need immediate medical attention. Call 911 or other emergency services if you or your child has:
It may not be necessary to call your doctor every time you
or your child with diabetes has a mild illness, such as a cold. But it is a
good idea to call for advice when you are sick and:
When you are sick, write down the medicines you have been
taking and whether you have changed the dosage of your diabetes medicines based
on your sick-day plan. Also note changes in your body temperature, weight,
blood sugar, and ketone levels. Have this information with you when you talk
to your doctor.
August 15, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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