It's no fun being sick, and when you have diabetes and you get sick, it can be—we should just admit it—especially un-fun. However, with some planning and preparation, you can get through sick days and manage your diabetes. This article gives sick day tips for people with diabetes so that you can get through the un-fun part as quickly as possible.
Here's the main thing to keep in mind: When you have a sick day, you need to test your blood glucose more frequently, drink more fluids, test for ketones, take your temperature, and keep a record of it all.
Testing Your Blood Glucose Levels
Diabetes can multiply the danger and magnify the damage that sicknesses can cause. When you are sick, your blood glucose level can get out of control more quickly than it would usually.
When you're sick, you need to check your blood glucose every 2 hours. If your blood glucose is high (hyperglycemia), you need to inject a dose of fasting-acting insulin. If your blood glucose is too low (hypoglycemia, you need to raise it by eating some carbohydrates.
However, do not be surprised if your blood glucose does not even out as predictably as it does when you are well. This is why testing your blood glucose level is so key when you're sick.
Testing for Ketones
You also need to use urine tests to test for the presence of ketones. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is when your blood glucose level goes dangerously high—extreme hyperglycemia.
You will administer this test every 4 hours when you have a diabetes sick day.
If your ketone test comes back positive, it is time to call your doctor. If your doctor is not available, go to your local emergency room. DKA is a very serious situation, and you need to deal with it immediately.
Keep Track of Your Temperature
You should also be keeping track of your temperature.
If you check your temperature each time you check your blood glucose, you are less likely to forget. If your temperature climbs above 101º F, you need to call your doctor.
Drink More Fluids When You're Sick
Your body will require more fluid while you are sick.
You need water to help cool your body, process nutrients, as well as circulate oxygenated blood and other body fluids. It will also cleanse your body of some of the illnesses and its unwanted byproducts. Make sure you force yourself to drink plenty of water and other liquids.
Diabetes Sick Day Tips
"Constant vigilance" is the phrase to keep in mind when you're sick and you have diabetes. You'll need to work hard to keep your blood glucose levels in check, but you can certainly do that. You can take care of your sickness and of your diabetes.