Later flu season shines light on sick-day prepBy
Although the calendar says the influenza season should be over, cases of the flu are increasing into March 2016 instead of winding down to a close. Avoiding illness is a prime goal, but people living with diabetes should be aware of the special needs presented by sick days caused by the flu and other conditions.
The blood sugar targets for a sick day are the same as other days. A blood sugar reading over 180 mg/Dl is still a high blood sugar. The purpose of a sick day management plan and more vigilant testing has to do with limiting hyperglycemia and dehydration. The goals are to prevent DKA in the Type 1, avoid dehydration of the Type 2 individual and avoid potential hospitalizations for either individual.
A sick day plan should include these elements of good blood sugar control. Monitoring, meals and medications are key while exercise or physical activity is usually halted during the illness.
The sick individual needs to follow a schedule for monitoring that gives the diabetes care team information to direct the modifications for the patient’s needs. Meals and eating will play an important role as medication will need to be adjusted to match rising or falling blood sugar levels. Medications are to be taken on the usual schedule or may be modified to meet the patient’s needs by the doctor or a member of the healthcare team.
Recording temperature, blood sugar, medication amount and time, fluid and food intake and the presence of ketones are highly important on sick days. This log or report will give insight to the diabetes care team of current health status and allow them to help adjust medication or intake to prevent dehydration or ketoacidosis.
The individual with diabetes or the parent/ care giver of the child with diabetes should be proactive in assessing conditions during an illness. Certain foods, testing equipment and testing supplies need to be handy before a sickness occurs. The phone number of the doctor or diabetes care team should be readily available.
A log to monitor the sickness over time, glucose meter, lancets, lancing device, test strips, control solution, and a bottle of Ketostix should be included in a sick day management tool kit. The food pantry should contain: broth, both sugar-free and regular Jello, both diet and non-diet soft drinks, both sugar-free and regular popsicles, both thin and creamy soups, regular and sugar free pudding, yogurt, juice and milk.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that across the country, this flu season was significantly less severe than in the last few years, though number of cases have been increasing since early January.
Did you know the CDC tracks the flu like a hurricane? Visit CDC Flu Central for current reports, maps and alerts.