If you “know the drill,” you understand what needs to be done without having to be told. Yet, with the cold and flu season in full force, it doesn’t hurt to get a few reminders about how to handle sick days – even if you think you know what to do.
The fact that your child has diabetes means they already require special care. But when a cold, flu, upset stomach or other illness hits, your child needs additional care in order to avoid dehydration or a more serious illness. Plan ahead so that you’re prepared for sick days when they occur, and share this information with your child’s caregivers so that they know how to deal with illnesses.
When your child is ill, follow these guidelines:
- Check blood sugar levels and ketones every 2 hours.
- Check a urine sample for ketones (following sick-day instructions).
- Continue giving insulin, according to sick-day guidelines.
- Keep track of any vomiting or diarrhea.
- Offer liquids if your child is unable to eat solid foods.
Oftentimes, foods that your child normally enjoys are unappealing when she is ill. As an alternative, consider the following liquids and soft solids:
|Regular ice pops||1||18 grams|
|Broth||1 cup||1 gram|
|Cola||½ cup||15 grams|
|Ginger ale||¾ cup||15 grams|
|Gatorade®||1 cup||15 grams|
|Pedialyte®||1 cup||6 grams|
|Gelatin||½ cup||19 grams|
|Hawaiian Punch®||½ cup||16 grams|
|Sherbet||½ cup||25 grams|
|Chicken noodle soup||1 cup||8 grams|
|Pudding, regular||½ cup||30 grams|
|Pudding, sugar-free||½ cup||15 grams|
As a general rule, your child should drink about ½ cup of liquids every hour while she is ill.
It’s important that your child keeps taking insulin when she is sick. Otherwise, she runs the risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis. Since common and minor ailments can disrupt your child’s blood glucose, you may need to adjust her insulin dosage. Keep in mind that some over-the-counter medications can affect blood glucose.
Use your child’s blood glucose levels as a guide to making adjustments in insulin dosages. If you’re unsure of the right amount of insulin your child needs, call your healthcare professional.
When to call the doctor:
If your child’s temperature is higher than 101 degrees for more than 8 hours, call her primary care provider. Call your child’s endocrinology doctor if your child is sick and has:
- Ketones that are moderate to large.
- Vomited more than twice.
- Been unable to eat or drink anything for more than 2 hours.
For additional information about diabetes, visit Akron Children’s Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology.