Diabetes: Sick-Day Plan

Diabetes: Sick-Day Plan

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Diabetes: Sick-Day Plan

When you’re sick, even with just a cold, your blood sugar level may rise. Ask your health care team to help you develop a sick-day plan for controlling blood sugar. Here are some guidelines.

Woman sitting in bed with a cup of soup.


  • Don’t stop taking your diabetes medication unless your health care provider tells you to.

  • Don’t take other medications, such as cold or flu remedies, without checking with your health care provider first.


  • Stick to your meal plan. If you can’t eat, try fruit juice, regular gelatin, or frozen juice bars as directed by your health care provider.

  • Drink at least 1 glass of liquid every hour. If you’re eating, these liquids should be sugar-free.

  • Check your blood sugar as often as directed by your health care provider.

  • Look for sugar-free cough drops and syrups. Ask your health care provider if it’s OK for you to take these.

  • Adjust your insulin according to your sick-day plan. Don’t skip insulin. You need insulin even if you can’t eat your normal meals. If you take pills, take the normal dose unless your doctor tells you to stop.

  • Ask someone to check on you several times a day.

Call Your Health Care Provider If

  • You vomit or have diarrhea for more than 6 hours.

  • Your blood glucose level is higher than 240 after you have taken extra insulin (if recommended in your sick-day plan).

  • You take oral medication for diabetes, your blood sugar is higher than 240 before a meal and stays that high for more than 24 hours.

  • You have moderate to large amounts of ketones in your urine.

  • You aren’t better after 2 days.