Dealing with Illness

Dealing with Illness

There's a lot of illness going round at the moment with lots of folks having flu like symptoms and chest infections, so its best everyone knows what to do if you're feeling ill.

When someone who doesn't have diabetes is ill, their bodies simply produce more insulin to cope, but when you have diabetes; your body cannot do this.

As a result, your blood glucose levels rise, causing you to pass more urine and feel thirsty. This in turn can make you dehydrated. The symptoms of high blood glucose can add to those of the original illness or infection and make it much worse.

Tips for dealing with illness

  • Don't panic!
  • Keep taking insulin and / or diabetes medications – even if you don't feel like eating. In some cases you may need to alter your dose – your diabetes team will be able to advise on this.
  • Test your blood more often, at least every four hours, including during the night. If you don't test your blood glucose levels at home you should be mindful of signs of hypergylcaemia'
  • Stay well hydrated. Have plenty of unsweetened drinks to avoid dehydration, and eat little and often.
  • If your blood glucose level is 15mmol/l* or more, check urine/blood for ketones. If ketones are present, contact your diabetes team.
  • If you don't feel like eating, are feeling sick or can't keep any food down, replace meals with snacks or drinks containing carbohydrates, which will provide energy. Try to sip sugary drinks (such as fruit juice or non-diet cola or lemonade) or suck on glucose tablets or sweets like jelly beans. Letting fizzy drinks go flat may help keep them down. If you're vomiting, or unable to keep fluids down get medical help as soon as possible.

*millimoles per litre: a measurement of the concentration of a substance in a given amount of liquid

Most importantly, if you are unsure then contact your diabetes team or if out of hours, then the out if hours service in your area.