Sick Day Rules?

Well I must begin this blog with an apology because as those of you who regularly read know, that I normally create and release a new blog every other day. But there has been a slight delay to my blogging to due to the fact that I've been unwell for the past week or so. It has been nothing serious, just a cough and cold. But it started with numerous hypos all in a row and turned into high blood sugars that then led onto becoming unwell.

Most people with diabetes know that the condition is an auto immune condition, and as a result our immune systems can often take a bit a of a battering. Since having diabetes I have found myself more susceptible to catching coughs and colds and stomach bugs. Also being an athlete and constantly putting your body to the limits and asking it to recover so you can train the next day, does not help boost your immune system either. So in an effort to try and protect myself I do all I can to try and avoid catching them in the first place. For example getting my flu jab at the earliest opportunity every season before the flu season begins, taking multi-vitamins and vitamin C in an effort to build a better immune system and little things such as drinking plenty of water and getting at least 8 hours sleep a night. Sometimes getting sick however is just unavoidable, but what happens when you get sick with diabetes?

How does being ill effect you when you have diabetes?

When someone is unwell (coughs, colds etc) the body produces additional glucose in order to help support the body in the fight against the illness. In someone without diabetes this is a helpful process, but in someone with diabetes this can make management of the illness a little bit more difficult due to the rise in blood sugars that the additional glucose causes.

In my experience the rise in blood sugars could be seen as a helpful tool in that I know that if my blood sugars rise and I am able to rule out that a) I haven't under bolused for food and b) that my set and insulin pump are working. Then I know that I'm fighting an infection or illness and this is the time to put sick day rules into action...

10 Sick(day) Tips to Help Combat Illness

1.  Test blood sugars more frequently than normal when feeling under the weather

2. Record your blood sugar readings as you go, to see if there are any patterns

3. Follow up any high blood sugar readings with tests for ketones, I test with readings of 14.0 mmol+

4. Drink plenty of fluids and keep hydrated as high bloods make you dehydrated

5. Keep eating, but if you can't eat use a carbohydratey/ sugary drink

6. Keep taking your medication, but be mindful of what you're blood sugars are doing

7. If you're at home alone get someone to ask for regular blood sugar updates at an agreed time (if I'm home sick, my partner and I agree a fixed time for me to regularly text BG levels- if he doesn't hear from me he knows to contact me)

8. Check the label of any medication you take to treat the cough, cold etc as some medications contain sugar variations and can also cause blood sugar rises. Always check suitability of medication with regard to how it will effect your diabetes with the pharmacist

9. Don't take unnecessary risks such as driving when blood sugars are misbehaving

10. If in any doubt seek advice from diabetes specialists of NHS direct

Everybody gets coughs or colds at some point in the year, but having diabetes means taking extra special care to manage the illness as well the condition. But please remember if in any doubt always seek the advice of a medical professional, especially in the presence of ketones!


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Meet The Author

My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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