Diabetes Care in Special Situations

Medically Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on February 13, 2021

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.

Show Sources

American Diabetes Association (ADA): "Traveling with Diabetes," and "When You're Sick." National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse: "Taking Care of Your Diabetes at Special Times."

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