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How do I manage my blood sugar when I'm unwell?

If you have diabetes, being unwell with a cold, flu, tummy bug or other infection can have a detrimental effect on your blood sugar levels.

As well as trying to rest to get over the illness, you need to stay on top of your blood sugar levels.

Here are some tips:

  • Check your blood sugar more often. Feeling under the weather, infections and diarrhoea can play havoc with good blood sugar control. Levels can end up higher or lower as you fight off the illness, and you may not feel like eating normally. If you have type 1 diabetes, check for ketones with high blood sugar if you've been advised to do so.
  • Check your temperature regularly.
  • Drink liquids if you can't keep solid food down to avoid dehydration and to get some nutrients. Soup or broths can be good choices.
  • If you use insulin for your diabetes, don't stop taking it even if you can't eat solid food. You may need to eat or drink something with sugar so that your blood sugar doesn't drop too low.
  • You may need to stop taking certain tablets for type 2 diabetes while you're sick to avoid hypos (very low blood sugar). Check with your diabetes care team or seek medical advice if you are not sure what to do.
  • If you need an over-the-counter drug to control symptoms like cough and nasal congestion, check with your doctor or pharmacist that it is OK to use with your diabetes treatment.
  • Contact your diabetes care team if your blood sugar levels stay out of your recommended range, you can't keep liquids or solids down, you have a fever, diarrhoea or vomiting.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on November 09, 2017

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