How to Manage Sick Days When You're Diabetic

Allison Bush Mar 26th, 2012 (updated Feb 10th, 2015)
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The most important factor in managing illness if you have diabetes is to have a plan and keep your supplies well stocked. Also, make sure to check your blood glucose much more frequently than usual.

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  • Check your blood glucose frequently -- several times daily.
  • Check ketones as recommended by your diabetes team.

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8 oz each waking hour, 4 oz for children.
Preferred fluids: clear, caffeine free such as:
  • Chicken beef or vegetable broth
  • Decaf tea
  • Jello, sugar fee or not depending on BG levels
  • Caffeine-free soda
  • Ice popsicles, sugar free or not, depending on BG levels
  • Water

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  • Important to eat carbs such as fruit, bread, crackers, rice, cereals.
  • Avoid high fat and high protein food.
  • Drink low sugar beverages, which are often easier to tolerate, such as Gatorade, diluted juice, jello or pedialyte for children.
  • If needed take a shot of glucogon with an insulin syringe (20 unit dose for adults and 10 unit dose for children)


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When to call the doctor
When to call the doctor

  • Large ketones are present, may indicate severe infection.
  • BG remains high despite extra insulin (severe infection or dehydration)
  • Vomiting multiple meals and or diarrhea for more than 24 hours.
  • Persistent high fever, with or without over the counter medications.