Sick Day Checklist (type 1 diabetes)

When you get sick, your body is under a state of stress. As your body tries to fight off the infection, hormones are released to help your body heal. These hormones can increase your blood sugars and if your blood sugars stay too high for too long, it can take longer for you to get better.

HAVE A PLAN IN ADVANCE (this is by far the most important step!)

1 | check your blood sugar often

Check your blood sugar at least every 4 hours when you are ill.

2 | continue to take your insulin & medications

Even though you may be eating less than usual, you will always need your background (basal) insulin dose. You may have to take your meal-time (rapid/bolus) insulin more often to correct the higher blood sugars caused by illness. You may also need to take extra meal-time insulin if you have ketones in your bloodstream.

3 | stay hydrated

You may become dehydrated from frequent urination and/or vomiting. Signs of dehydration include:

  • less urine than usual, or dark yellow urine
  • vomiting or diarrhea (>3 times/day)

Aim to drink at least 1 cup of sugar-free, caffeine-free fluids (water is always the best choice!) every hour. You can also try sipping on clear broth for hydration and electrolytes.

4 | STOP the following medications if you are not able to drink enough fluid to stay hydrated

  • blood pressure pills
  • water pills
  • pain medications
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (commonly found in pain medications like Advil, and cold remedies)

5 | choose easy-to-digest foods

When you are sick, your body still needs food for energy to fight off the infection or illness, but it can be difficult to eat if you feel nauseous.
Choose easy-to-digest carbohydrates such as:

  • ½ cup of orange juice
  • 1 cup skim or 1% milk
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 piece of toast
  • ½ cup Glucerna
  • ¾ cup artificially-sweetened yogurt
  • 1 small banana
  • 7 crackers
  • ½ cup jello
  • 1 twin popsicle
  • ½ cup hot cereal

Note: these portions are equal to approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates each.

If you are unable to tolerate solid foods, replace with sugar-containing fluids as needed. Aim to consume 10-15 grams of carbohydrate every hour.

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