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Do you have a sick day plan?

Even the most well-managed person with diabetes will sometimes get sick – we all do! Whether it’s a cold or flu, stomach bug or something more serious, it’s important to understand what to do in case of illness. And – just as important – what support you might need.

sick day plan

Sick day plan

That’s why it’s a good idea to create a sick day plan. This helpful article from Accu-Chek talks about managing sick days when you have diabetes, and includes all the necessary things to think about. One of their top tips is to speak to your doctor ahead of time about a sick day plan: ask when you should call for help, how often you should check your blood glucose and ketones, what medicines to take and what to eat.

Also remember that when your body is fighting off an infection, your blood sugar will naturally be higher. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a few days of higher blood sugar than usual – as long as you’re trying your best, that’s all you can do.

Sick day kit

Another helpful tip is to prepare a sick day kit ahead of time. This could include:

  • Thermometer
  • Pain relief medication
  • Sugar-free cough syrup or throat lozenges
  • Decongestant (keep in mind that even sugar-free decongestants may cause a rise in blood glucose)
  • Urine ketone strips
  • Extra blood glucose test strips and lancets
  • Extra insulin and supplies
  • Glucagon emergency kit
  • Easy-to-eat foods that contain carbs

When to contact your doctor

You can read the full article here, but it’s worth noting when you need to take speedy action.

Contact your doctor when:

  • You’ve been sick or had a fever for a couple of days without improvement.
  • You’ve had 2 or more vomiting or diarrhoea episodes within 4 hours.
  • You detect moderate to large ketones in your urine.
  • Your blood glucose is higher than 15 mmol/L after increasing insulin and fluids.
  • You experience symptoms that might signal ketoacidosis or dehydration (worsening abdominal pain, trouble breathing or breath that smells fruity or like acetone).

As with everything to do with diabetes, the more prepared you are ahead of time, the easier it will be. Here’s hoping your sick days are few and far between!

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.