An illness such as the flu, fever, cold, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or an infection might cause your blood sugar to go up. To stay out of the hospital, you need to take special care of yourself.

Follow these guidelines when you are sick:

  • Check your blood sugar every two to four hours.
  • Do not stop taking your diabetes pills and/or insulin, even if you cannot eat.
  • Make sure you are drinking liquids. If you are unable to keep down solid food, drink 1 cup of water every hour and have one serving (15 grams) of a carbohydrate every hour you are awake. Examples of carbohydrate fluids are:
    • ½ cup juice
    • ½ cup regular, caffeine-free soft drink (not diet)
    • 1 cup sports drink
    • 1 cup broth-based soup
    • ½ cup regular gelatin
    • 1 double-stick Popsicle®
  • If you are able to keep down solid food, eat your regular meal plan and drink 1 cup of calorie-free fluid every hour. Examples of fluids are:
    • Water
    • Caffeine-free diet soft drinks
    • Plain tea
    • Bouillon
  • Take your temperature.
  • Check your urine for ketones* using special ketone strips. Do this every four hours when:
    • Your blood sugar level is higher than 250 mg/dl
    • You are vomiting
    • You have diarrhea

*If your body is not able to use sugar for energy, it will break down its own fat for energy. When fat is used, ketones can appear in your urine. Ketones in your urine can be dangerous.

  • If you need an over-the-counter medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist for a list of sugar-free products.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your blood sugar is higher than 250 mg/dl or lower than 70 mg/dl two times in a row.
  • There are ketones in your urine.
  • You have a fever (temperature above 100.3 degrees F or 37.9 degrees C) .
  • You have vomited more than once.
  • You have diarrhea more than five times or for longer than 24 hours.
  • You have other signs of infection, including:
    • Sweats or chills
    • Pain, tenderness, redness, or swelling
    • A wound or cut that will not heal
    • A red, warm, or draining sore
    • Sore throat, scratchy throat, or pain when swallowing
    • Sinus draining, nasal congestion, headaches, or tenderness along your upper cheekbones
    • Persistent dry or moist cough that lasts for more than two days
    • White patches in your mouth or on your tongue
    • Flu-like symptoms (chills, aches, headache, and fatigue)
    • Vaginal itching
    • Trouble urinating; pain or burning, constant urge, or frequent urination, bloody, cloudy or foul-smelling urine


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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 6/20/2016...#11646