Under the weather: 6 tips for managing diabetes sick days

girl sick in bed

Being sick can be a real drag, even more so if you have diabetes. Managing your diabetes when you’re under the weather can be tricky, so we asked some of our MiniMed Ambassadors to share their sick day management tips. Here are 6 tips they shared that may help you manage your diabetes sick days. What tips do you have? Tell us in the comments below!


1. Test More Often

I always check my blood sugar about once per hour to make sure it isn't running high or low during sick days. – Carling 

For me, this means taking hourly blood glucose readings and ketone checks, and staying hydrated! - Jacob 

I always check my BG more often. I also check ketones on a regular basis. This is a must for me. - Catherine


2. Try To Eat Healthy Food

My diet definitely changes when I am sick. I tend to eat foods that are easy on the stomach like plain bread or oatmeal. These foods do tend to have more carbs, so I make sure to balance my blood sugars by eliminating foods like dairy and high fat. – Carling 

Eating may not sound fun when you are sick, but it is important you continue to eat to ensure you have energy. Find foods you are able to eat. I personally like soft foods like soups, yogurt, and applesauce. - Jacob 

When my daughter can't keep any food down, we alternate between sips of water to keep the ketones under control, and sips of juice so the insulin has something to work on. We have found that just testing and pumping in insulin without some type of carb in her stomach doesn't help. – Sue


3. Keep Taking Insulin

If I'm able to keep down food, I like to put my pump temp basal rate on 110-120% to correct for this. If I'm not able to keep down food, then my blood sugars will even out with lack of exercise and I keep my settings the same. - Carling 

Depending on my blood sugar and ketones, I may need to up my insulin dosage - this is something you should personalize with your doctor. - Jacob 

If you find checking once an hour, and you are still running on the high side, check with your health care professional about temporary basal changes. - Mike


4. Drink Plenty of Fluids

"Liquids Kelly! You need to drink more liquids!" My mom preaches as she carries over an assortment of cans and bottles. Everything from orange juice, to the trusty flat can of sprite, is at the tip of my fingers the moment I mention I am feeling a little under the weather. The constant consumption of water has helped me kick several illnesses, from your everyday cold, to influenza. I've found that the combination of pushing fluids and getting extra sleep at night are some of the simplest ways to keep yourself healthy! – Kelly 

I drink extra fluids, as my body needs them, and pay attention to how I’m doing. If I’m feeling dry, I increase my fluids that won’t increase my sugar levels. - Dave 

Increase fluids if possible. I keep G2 In the house for such occasions and Pedialyte. Flu season is upon us and I always want to make sure that I am prepared. Being dehydrated is no laughing matter to a diabetic. We can get there so quickly. - Catherine


5. Keep Doctor’s Phone Number Handy

I normally would not call my doctor until the 2nd day of not feeling well. - Mike 

I always contact my doctor when I cannot keep foods down. This can make it very difficult to regulate my blood sugars, so advice on temp basal rates can be quite helpful. – Carling 

If my daughter has been vomiting for more than 4 hours, and we start to see moderate levels of ketones, we call the doctor and follow her advice on how to proceed. – Sue


6. Rest, Rest, Rest

What makes me feel better, if I’m not too sick, is tomato soup and I Love Lucy. Ever since I was a kid. - Mike 

I am a very active person, so when I'm sick, I usually test more often, sleep, and rest a lot more. It's about keeping my blood sugars on track! Feeling under the weather is one thing, but being sick with bad blood sugars can make you feel absolutely terrible. – Carling 

On sick days, your only job is to get better, so make sure to get some rest, and maybe watch a few cartoons too! - Jacob 


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Blog comments

I love this article, so much great information to anyone who has diabetes, or a family member with it that your helping take care of!

Kitty, I’m so glad you found these diabetes sick day tips from the community helpful!

I think one of the hardest things about dealing with being "regular-people-sick" is the feeling of helplessness that comes with it. With diabetes, there's always an answer: fast-glucose, new infusion site, correction dose, whatever; and checking our "vitals" (blood sugar) is only 5 seconds away. Contrast that to regular sickness, where there's often no way to know exactly what's wrong and no way to hasten a recovery other than to patiently wait.

Thanks for sharing your insights with us, Scott!

Submitted by Dennis McAllister (not verified) on

In reply to by Commenter (not verified)

How and WHEN can I get a LONGER infusion set for the Sure-T? The 32" length is JUST NOT ADEQUATE for me!

Submitted by LOOP Blog Editorial on

In reply to by Dennis McAllister (not verified)

Dennis, I’m sorry to hear you’re frustrated with the length options for the Sure-T infusion set. If you’re interested, we do offer two other infusion sets, Quick-Set and Silhouette, that are available in 43 inches in length. Please let me know if you’d like me to connect you with someone to discuss your options.

What impact can effectively managing diabetes during sick days have on the long-term health of individuals with diabetes, according to the information provided?

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