Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Diabetes Care in Special Situations

You can manage your diabetes whether you're at home, work, or traveling, by taking appropriate steps. Here are a few diabetes care strategies for special situations.

Managing Sick Days With Diabetes

Because a cold or flu can cause your blood sugar level to rise, it's important to have a sick day plan as part of your diabetes management. When you are ill, make sure you do the following:

  • Check your blood sugar every four hours (call your doctor if they are consistently elevated). Your doctor may ask you to take more insulin.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Check for ketones if your blood sugars are above 240 mg/dL (or as your doctor recommends).
  • If ketones are found in your urine in mild to moderate levels or if they continue elevated for more than 12 hours, call your doctor.
  • Check your temperature regularly.
  • Don't stop taking your insulin, even if you cannot eat solid foods. People with type 2 diabetes who are on oral drugs may need to stop taking their medications when sick. Always check with your doctor to see what's best for your situation.
  • Call your doctor if your blood sugar stays higher than 180 mg/dL or lower than 70 mg/dL, you have abdominal pain or vomiting and diarrhea, or have a fever for more than one day.

For more detail, see WebMD's article Diabetes: Managing Sick Days.

Traveling With Diabetes

For people with diabetes, traveling requires planning. Not only will you have different meal patterns and activity levels, but if you travel abroad, the time zones can affect your blood sugar levels and insulin needs. Read some tips to help make your traveling easier as you prepare ahead of time with extra supplies and prescriptions.

For more detail, see WebMD's article Diabetes: Tips on Traveling.

Holiday Eating for Diabetes

Holiday eating is difficult for most people with chronic health problems. If you have diabetes, you need to plan and prioritize the foods you enjoy so you don't feel deprived. By learning some simple steps to help you navigate the holiday buffet table safely, you can keep your blood sugar at healthy levels and enjoy the food and friendships during the holidays.

For more detail, see WebMD's article Healthy Holiday Eating for Diabetes.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on September 02, 2014

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
Woman serving fast food from window
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
are battery operated toothbrushes really better

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture