Sick Days and Diabetes Management

Sick days with colds and flus are difficult enough for non-diabetics. But for us as diabetics, it takes a lot of extra self-care. First of all, when you are sick with colds and flu as a diabetic, your blood sugars usually go up sky high. This can lead to other complications that can put you in a comatose state. Working out a plan for sick days ahead of time is best. You can devise a plan of what to do, and have the supplies on hand just in case.

Your body under stress with illness and diabetes. To deal with the stresses of cold or flu, you body automatically releases hormones that are working to fight it off. The hormones have side effects however, which is raising blood glucose levels that interfere with your injected insulin. If taking diabetes pills, they lose their effectiveness during this time, and the result of high sugars happen as well in this case.

Type 1 diabetics may develop serious ketoacidosis leading to coma. And those of us with type 2 diabetes can develop something referred to as hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic coma, where just like in type 1, the blood sugars go out of sight. These conditions are both dangerous and very life-threatening. But a lot of times you can avoid this by following your sick days plan.

Working with your doctor or health care team on a sick day plan is really important. The plan should include in it, what to do if you need to call on your team for more help. You should also keep your plan somewhere handy so you can reach help right away.

For minor illnesses, you probably won't need to consult your doctor. But if these things listed happens, it is time to pick up the phone for help:

You can't shake a fever.

You keep on vomiting or having diarrhea all day.

You are seeing ketones on a urine test.

Your blood sugar will not go down from very high, which means 180 or more.

You are on diabetes pills and your sugars keep going up.

You cannot hold liquids at all and are becoming steadily dehydrated. Very dangerous very any diabetic.

You have other symptoms of illness you are unsure of and don't know what to do.

When you see the doctor, take medications with you including the over-the-counter drugs. They are equally important along with prescribed medications. Tell your doctor how long you have been sick and what is going on if you are unable to hold anything down.

Eating and drinking can be problematic when you are ill. You need to stick with your meal plan if able to. If not, here are some good sick day eating ideas:

1 cup warm diet soda Cold soda will agitate an upset stomach.

Soda crackers.

Dry toast

Hot plain broth eaten slowly

Sugar-free pudding

Mashed potatoes

1/2 cup Jello

Over the counter medicines may help you feel better as well, but do be careful and consult with your doctor's office on which ones are okay for a diabetic. This is very important in keeping away from unpleasant side effects leading to complications.

The key is staying in control of your blood glucose and getting the rest your body needs to heal properly. Sleeping extra is also a wonderful form of therapy and I think helps the body heal faster.

If your illness is severe enough to go to the ER, please take all of your medical information with you on your diabetes care. This is very important as I well know, when you see a doctor not familiar with you.

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