Welcome to DIY (Do It Yourself) Diabetes with Marci Page Sloane

Diabetes & Sick Days
Marci’s DIY sick day guidelines

Everyone gets the flu or a cold or an upset stomach from time to time. Minor illness will alter your blood sugar and will require some changes in your daily diabetes routine. It is difficult to control your blood sugars when you are ill. It is especially important to test your blood glucose level frequently to know where your level is.

You should suspect that your blood glucose level is high when you experience any of the following: flu, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fever, infections, physical injury, dental problems, or emotional stress.

When you have days of sickness, you need to make the appropriate choices, which include the following:

  • Do not omit any medications.
  • Check blood glucose levels every 4 hours.
  • Drink fluids every hour. If unable to eat your usual meals replace them with the same amounts of carbohydrates in crackers, regular puddings, fruit, Jell-O, soup, ice cream, etc.


  • Fever is worse or longer than 24 hours.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea longer than 24 hours.
  • Ketones are present in your urine.
  • Experiencing unusual symptoms.
  • Unable to eat for 24 hrs or keep medications or replacement food down.


  • Replace food with liquid, semi-liquid or soft foods with carbohydrates similar to your usual food choices.
  • Consume protein and fat as tolerated.
  • Replace lost electrolytes by having broth, vegetable juice, saltine crackers, pretzels or orange juice.

Feel better!

Marci Sloane, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator with a degree in Nutrition and Physiology from Teachers College at Columbia University. Marci is the author of The Diet Game: Playing for Life! More about Marci Sloane

The goal of Destination Diabetes® is to be a useful and credible resource for the more than 20 million children and adults who have diabetes in the U.S. and their families. Destination Diabetes® provides information on a wide range of diabetes health and wellness topics. Articles are written or reviewed by diabetes advisors who have experience in diabetes education.