Planning for Sick Days

Getting sick can make it harder to stay at your blood sugar goals. Make sure that you have a sick-day plan. It can help you avoid serious illness.

Your sick-day plan can include

  • How often to measure your blood sugar
  • Which medicines to take and whether there are any over-the-counter medicines that you should not take
  • How to get sufficient nutrition
  • Your health care team’s phone numbers
  • How to reach your health care providers after hours, on weekends, and holidays

When to call your health care provider

Ask your health care provider when you should call him or her. You will probably want to call him or her when

  • You have been sick
  • You have a fever that is not going away
  • You have been throwing up or having diarrhea for more than 6 hours
  • You are not sure how to take care of yourself

Tips for when you are sick

  • Check your blood sugar at least 4 times a day or as recommended by your health care provider.
  • Keep a record of your blood sugar meter results.
  • Make sure that you are able to get adequate fluids and nutrition.
  • Keep a record of all medicines you take. This information is important if you have to go to a hospital or see a health care provider.
  • Ask your health care provider if you need to check your urine for ketones. Having high levels of ketones in your urine is dangerous.

Tips about your medicines when you are sick

  • When you are sick, ask your health care provider if you should keep taking your diabetes medicines. Even if you are throwing up, do not stop taking your medicines without asking your health care provider.
  • Before you buy over-the-counter medicines, read the label to see if they have sugar in them. These are medicines you can buy without a prescription. A short name for over-the-counter medicines is OTC medicines.
  • Ask your pharmacist or health care provider about sugar-free options. Certain medicines can affect your blood sugar levels even if they do not have sugar in them, like aspirin and medicines to decongest your chest. Check with your health care provider to find out which OTC medicines are best for you.

Tips about eating when you are sick

  • Stick to your normal meal plan as best as you can.
  • Drink lots of no-calorie liquids. You can drink water and other sugar-free liquids to help prevent dehydration.
  • If you cannot follow your healthy eating plan, at least try to eat enough calories.
    • You can eat foods that are easy on the stomach, like regular nondiet gelatin, crackers, soup, and applesauce.
    • If these foods are hard to eat, you may have to drink liquids that have carbohydrates, such as fruit juice or nondiet soft drinks. Try to eat or drink 50 grams of carbohydrates every 3 to 4 hours.
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