Sick Days – With Diabetes
What to do when you’re not feeling well
Train 1-2 friends, colleagues and/or family members how to use your glucometer.
Keep a sick day box filled with medications, supplies, and easy-to-fix foods.
Medications: Tylenol, Immodium (for diarrhea,) antacids. Consider a prescription from your doctor for anti-vomiting medication.
Supplies: thermometer, urine ketone test strips or blood ketone test strips (if your blood glucose meter can test for ketones.)
Foods: Sports drinks or rehydration solutions, such as Pedialyte,) small juice containers. Instant cereal, canned soup, instant pudding, applesauce, Jello.
When ill, you require adequate calories and need to drink more fluids, up to 4-6 oz. per ½ hour if you have significant diarrhea. You may even need to drink fluids containing
Your blood sugars may actually go higher when you are ill, so take your medications. Record and monitor your blood sugars more frequently.
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA:) DKA is a serious condition. Cells in your body use glucose for energy. When the cells do not have enough glucose, your body begins to burn fat for energy, which produces ketones. Ketones make the blood more acidic. Increased ketones most often result from not enough insulin or not enough food. When the ketone levels get too high you can develop DKA. DKA is rare in Type 2 diabetes, but can happen. Treatment of DKA requires administration of insulin and increased fluids, which is usually done in a hospital. Warning signs of DKA: Very dry mouth or thirst, frequent urination, high blood sugar levels, high ketone levels in the urine or blood, persistent vomiting, fruity odor or breath, difficulty breathing, confusion.
Check for ketones every 4-6 hours when you are ill or blood sugar is over 240.
When to call your doctor: High ketones; not eating normally for longer than 24 hours; fever over 100 degrees for 24 hours; cannot keep liquids down for longer than 4 hours; vomiting and diarrhea for longer than 4 hours; 5 pound weight loss; blood sugar less than 60 or greater than 300; trouble breathing; cannot stay awake; not thinking clearly.