What should a person with diabetes do if they get sick with flu or cold?
There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Flu spreads mainly person-to-person through the coughing or sneezing of infected people. If you get sick, the CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
- Be sure to continue taking your diabetes pills or insulin. Don’t stop taking them even if you can’t eat. Your health care provider may even advise you to take more insulin during sickness.
- Test your blood glucose every four hours, and keep track of the results.
- Drink extra (calorie-free) liquids, and try to eat as you normally would. If you can’t, try to have soft foods and liquids containing the equivalent amount of carbohydrates that you usually consume.
- Weigh yourself every day. Losing weight without trying is a sign of high blood glucose.
- Check your temperature every morning and evening. A fever may be a sign of infection.
Call your health care provider or go to an emergency room if any of the following happen to you:
- You feel too sick to eat normally and are unable to keep down food for more than 6 hours.
- You're having severe diarrhea.
- You lose 5 pounds or more.
- Your temperature is over 101 degrees F.
- Your blood glucose is lower than 60 mg/dL or remains over 300 mg/dL.
- You have moderate or large amounts of ketones in your urine.
- You're having trouble breathing.
- You feel sleepy or can't think clearly.
For more information, see:
- Diabetes and the Flu (Flu.gov)
- Flu and People with Diabetes (CDC)
- Taking Care of Your Diabetes at Special Times: When You Are Sick from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse fact sheet, Your Guide to Diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.