Sick-Day Guidelines for People With Diabetes - Topic Overview
When to call your doctor
Minor illnesses in people with diabetes—especially children with
type 1 diabetes—can lead to very high blood sugar
levels and possible emergencies. When children are sick, watch them closely for
signs that they need immediate medical attention. Call 911 or other emergency services if you or your child has:
- Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), such
as abdominal (belly) pain, vomiting, rapid breathing, fruity-smelling breath, or severe
- Symptoms of dehydration, such as a dry mouth and very
yellow or dark urine. Dehydration is particularly dangerous in
children and may be caused by vomiting and
- A high blood sugar level that continues.
It may not be necessary to call your doctor every time you
or your child with diabetes has a mild illness, such as a cold. But it is a
good idea to call for advice when you are sick and:
- You have a blood sugar level that stays higher than the level the doctor has set for you, for example, 240 mg/dL for two or more readings.
- You have moderate or large amounts of ketones in the urine or a high level of blood ketones (for example, more than 0.6 mmol/L).
- You still have a fever and are not feeling better after a
- You are vomiting or having diarrhea for more than 6
When you are sick, write down the medicines you have been
taking and whether you have changed the dosage of your diabetes medicines based
on your sick-day plan. Also note changes in your body temperature, weight,
blood sugar, and ketone levels. Have this information with you when you talk
to your doctor.