10 Tips For Managing Sick Days With Diabetes

By Samantha Sullivan-Holness

10 Tips For Managing Sick Days With Diabetes

Sick days with diabetes can elevate your stress hormones and blood glucose levels. Planning ahead can be so helpful to manage your sick days and assist with your recovery. Below include ten tips to discuss with your health care provider before getting sick. Planning ahead with your health care provider can ensure you are prepared to manage your sick days best for your health and wellness. After you discuss your sick day plan with your health care provider keep necessary items on hand.

  1. Check your blood glucose levels often

    Discuss how often your doctor wants you to check your blood glucose levels. The frequency to check your blood glucose levels will vary based on your medication regimen and whether or not you take insulin.
  2. Monitor your temperature

    Your health care provider many have you contact them if your fever falls within a certain range.
  3. Discuss whether you should change your usual dose of your diabetes medications

    If so, be sure to know how to change your usual dose based on your symptoms. Whether you take an oral diabetes medication, insulin, or both, determine what you do with each medication when you are sick.
  4. Identify OTC medication that works best for you

    Know which over the counter medications are ok to take to manage both cold and flu symptoms.
  5. Explore testing your ketones

    Explore whether you should check for ketones or blood in your urine. If you are checking for ketones, determine how often you should check for ketones.
  6. Determine what is ok to eat and how often you should eat

    Discuss and determine if it is ok to eat your usual food. Discuss what food to consume when you cannot tolerate your usual food. Be sure to cover what foods to eat to assist with preventing and treating low blood glucose and high blood glucose levels.
  7. Define what is a sufficient volume to drink and how often you should hydrate

    Ask your health care provider what and how much sugar free liquids and other liquids containing sugar are ok to consume. Stay well hydrated by consuming fluid regularly. Your fluid recommendations may increase if you are vomiting or experiencing diarrhea. Discuss how to get liquid in if certain beverages are not tolerated.
  8. Weigh yourself

    Your doctor may have you weigh daily, especially if you have noticed swelling in your hands or legs. Determine what you should do with a specified amount of weight gain in a determined amount of time.
  9. Recognize symptoms of low blood glucose and high blood glucose levels

    Also familiarize yourself with the warning signs of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). If you experience hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia or DKA, know what to do.

  10. Contact your health care provider

    Determine when you should contact your health care provider and when you should seek urgent or emergency care.


  1. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/managing-diabetes/sick-days-special-times
  2. http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2013/oct/sick-day-rules-for-managing-diabetes.html
  3. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/managing-sick-days
  4. https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/medication-management/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/hypoglycemia
  5. https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/medication-management/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/hyperglycemia
  6. https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/complications/dka-ketoacidosis-ketones


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Orignially published on December 12, 2019, updated on December 17, 2019

Topic: sick days

Samantha Sullivan-Holness

About Samantha Sullivan-Holness

Samantha Sullivan-Holness, MS, RD is a health coach and senior team lead with Cecelia Health. Samantha genuinely cares about client and coach success. Samantha partners with clients to achieve their health goals and provides guidance to coaches to maximize their potential. Samantha most enjoys being active outdoors.