Sick Day Management Tips

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What are some guidelines for sick days?

Guidelines for Sick Days

If you are ill, it effects your blood sugar, in addition to any effect that your sickness-related medications may have on your disease. It is important to know how to manage your diabetes, when you are ill.

Here are some general guidelines:

1) Take your medicine as you normally
would as long as you are eating as
you normally would. If your eating
patterns change, contact your doctor
for medication change instructions.
2) Check your blood sugar more
frequently. Since infection and some
medications used to treat infections
can increase your blood sugar, it is
important to track your sugars so
that you can adjust your
medications.
3) Check ketones, if you are a Type 1
diabetic - to see if your body is
using body fat for fuel, as
ketoacidosis is a serious condition
and will need immediate treatment.
4) Keep hydrated. Drink non-sugar, non-
alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids to
stay hydrated and keep your blood
sugars from spiking due to
dehydration.
5) Be prepared: have phone numbers
ready before illness strikes. Having
a "sick day" kit that includes a
thermometer, sugar free cough
medicine/cough drops, and important
numbers is a good idea.
6) Know when to call your doctor -
a. call if your fever lasts more
than 3 days or goes about 103
degrees.
b. call if your blood sugars are
consistently 50% higher than
usual, i.e. if your normal AM
sugar is 110, call if it is
repeatedly higher than 165.
c. call for symptoms of high or low
blood sugar that occur two days
in a row or three times in one
week.
d. call if your illness is not
resolving after 5 days, with
home treatment

Understanding that illness impacts your diabetes, and how to treat it, are the keys to getting through your "sick days" without a hitch.

As always, when in doubt, call your doctor for guidance.

   
How does illness affect my blood sugar?

How Illness Affects Blood Sugars

When a person becomes ill, their body fights the disease through many mechanisms, including changes in hormone levels, increased activity of anti-virus or anti-bacteria components in the blood, and even an elevated temperature, at times. Your blood glucose may also go up.

If you are diabetic, it is important to be aware of this, as insulin needs may change, and the risk of going into ketoacidosis can also increase while you are ill.

Illness, stress, or surgery can all cause blood glucoses to rise, and during these times it is important to:

1) Monitor your sugars more frequently
2) Notify your doctor that you are ill,
even it is just "a cold"
3) Keep hydrated, as dehydration can
artificially elevate your blood sugar
4) Avoid caffeine and alcohol
5) Keep track of your sugars and
contact the doctor if your values
are off track

No one likes being sick and if you are diabetic, you have additional worries, but keeping on top of your sugars and communicating with your doctor will help you weather the illness with flying colors.

   
What are some sick day foods?

Sick Day Foods

When you have an illness, your body still needs food for energy and to heal. But often, if a person feels nauseated or has GI distress, it is difficult to eat.

Here are some suggestions for easy to digest foods that can be substituted during sick days. Try to maintain the normal amount of carbohydrates that are part of your meal plan.

These portion sizes are each equal to 15 Gm. of carbohydrate:

1/2 cup of orange juice (4 oz.)
1 cup skim milk (8 oz.)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup gatorade
1 piece of toast
1/2 of a banana
1/2 cup of naturally-sweet fruit
1 cup of sugar-free yogurt

You may want to look at the carbohydrate count for other foods, such as cereal, cottage cheese, broths, sherberts, and other easily digested foods.

You can incorporate them into your meal plan for that day, to prevent hypoglycemia when heavier more-solid food may be difficult to eat during your illness.

As always, talk to your doctor when you are ill, about any needed changes in your diet, activity and medications, to help you cruise through your sick day.

   
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