Tips To Manage Diabetes If You’re Sick

manage-diabetes-if-you-are-sick

When individuals come down with minor illnesses such as flu, cold, urinary tract infection, or intestinal problems, they usually lose their appetite and have low energy levels. They may want to stay in bed, take some over-the-counter medication, sleep, and let the medication and their immune systems do their jobs to kick the illness to the curb.

However, for diabetic patients, a common sickness or infection is not as easy to fight off. The variation of glucose and ketone levels can trigger severe complications. However, if left unattended, these complications can lead to life-threatening medical emergency cases such as diabetic coma.

What Happens To Your Blood Sugar Levels When You Get Sick?

Colds, the flu, or infections can happen anytime. Your body may become stressed when you’re ill. In case of illness, your body releases hormones to combat the illness, resulting in high sugar levels. People who don’t have diabetes can make enough extra insulin to keep their blood sugar in a normal range during times of stress and illness. But diabetic patients may need to take extra diabetes medication to keep their blood sugar near normal during times of illness or stress.

How Often Should You Check Your Blood Sugar Levels?

You should check your blood sugar more often when you are sick. If you don’t take insulin, you must check your blood sugar at least 2-4 times in a day. And if you’re on insulin, ensure to check your blood sugar levels every 2 to 4 hours or as your healthcare provider recommends you to do so.

Should You Go For Ketones Test?

Your body starts producing ketones when your blood sugar levels get too high. This can be too dangerous for you. Make sure to keep a check on ketone levels, if:

  • You have type 1 diabetes
  • Your blood sugar is more than 250 mg/dL for more than 4 hours
  • You have fruity smelling breath, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or fast breathing.

Consult with your healthcare provider as soon as possible if your ketones levels are moderate or large.

What To Eat And Drink When You’re Sick?

High blood sugar, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting can cause you to lose too much fluid from your body, resulting in dehydration. Make sure to drink fluids – at least one glass of liquid every hour, take small sips of liquid in every 15 minutes in case of vomiting. Keep a check on your diet because whatever you eat and drink will impact on your blood sugar level.

  • If Your Blood Sugar Is High: drink and eat things without sugar like water, tea with no sugar, diet drinks, ice chips, and pudding etc.
  • If Your Blood Sugar Is Low: drink and eat things with sugar like ½ cup of fruit juice, ½ cup of regular soda, ½ cup of regular Jell-O (not sugar-free), an ice pop, saltines, milk, noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes.

When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider?

You should call your healthcare provider right away if:

  • You’ve 100°F or higher fever.
  • Your blood sugar level is more than 250 mg/dL for more than a day.
  • Your blood sugar is lower than 70 mg/dL for 2 tests in a row
  • Moderate to large ketones are present
  • You have stomach pain, fruity smelling breath, or fast breathing
  • Suffering from vomits and diarrhea for more than 6 hours.

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