Monday, November 22, 2010

Sick Days & Diabetes

Sick days and Diabetes.

Diabetes on its own, many parents say, is difficult to manage. Toss in a cold, flu, stomach virus, etc, and its like it's double trouble!

Good news is, just as with any other child, these common viruses and illnesses don't last forever! They come, they go, in their own time.

If you have diabetes, or your child does, it is extremely important to have a Sick Day Diabetes Management Plan, and keep all emergency supplies within close range. It is also very important to stay hydrated!

Hydration and ketones go hand in hand. If you do not keep your body hydrated well while you are sick, especially those with diabetes, your body has a harder time fighting off the virus. With people with diabetes,  it is even more important to remain hydrated while sick. Fluids help people with diabetes flush out ketones their body may produce when they are sick.

As you can see in the picture to the right, when someone with diabetes is sick, they can have a relatively good blood sugar level (191), and still have very large ketones (1.9). This is what my son's blood sugar level and blood  ketone level was last Tuesday when he came down with a stomach virus. This is why it is so important to check your ketone levels, whether via urine sticks or blood ketone meters, atleast once a day... and even moreso when you are sick and have diabetes!

Often times, ketones can be your first indicator that you are coming down with something, before the actual symptoms appear!

Here are some helpful things to have on hand should you get sick and have diabetes:
  • Spare diabetes testing supplies, ketone sticks/blood ketone test supplies, extra insulin, pump supplies if you use a pump, etc.
  • glucose tabs, juice boxes, or other fast acting carbohydrate
  • BRAT diet supplies (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast), especially if your illness is accompanied with vomitting. These things may be light enough for your stomach to tolerate should you feel hungry but don't want to put anything too heavy on your stomach.
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Endocrinologist/Certified Diabetes Educator phone numbers
  • Emergency Glucogon Kit
Remember to test your blood sugar every 2-3 hours when you are sick, and test your ketones every 2 hours, and if you have ketones, call your Endocrinologist/Certified Diabetes Educator, or medical professional to find out how you should treat the ketones.Your Diabetes Management Team can be a great source to help you deal with illness and diabetes, and can help you take the proper steps to prevent an Emergency Room visit!

Don't forget, diabetes can be difficult to manage, and even harder while sick, but with patience, a level head, communication with your medical professionals, and persistance,  often times you can handle diabetes and sicknesses right at home. Just hang in there, and remember, viruses don't hang around forever!

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