Last year I posted about surviving the stomach bug with type 1 diabetes. But then I realized something, whether it’s a stomach bug or a virus, or a cold, I tackle it all the same way. That way is ‘Let me prepare myself for EVERYTHING because I’m not sure how my body will react THIS TIME’. So whether my body shoots me high or drops me low, here is the guide I use for my T1D sick day toolkit.
T1D Sick Day Toolkit
The first thing I do is make a basket. This basket hangs in the closet until I need it. Inside I have the following:
- Activated Charcoal (to stop vomiting or diarrhea)
- Keto Pee Sticks
- Test Strips
- Alcohol Swabs
- BG Meter
- Glucose (Tablets, Gel, or even honey/maple syrup packets)
- Notepad & Pen (to track ketone levels or temp)
- Glucagon Kit
- A print out of my Sick Day Toolkit checklist (download T1D Sick Day Toolkit here)
That way, when I get sick, I’m not running around the house trying to find my meter or glucose tablets. I can just sit back, try to relax, and get some sleep, knowing with full confidence that everything I need to battle a cold or virus with T1D is right here in this basket.
What Will My Blood Sugar Do When I’m Sick?
That’s hard to say because everyone is different. Some people experience lows when they’re sick, some experience highs, and others experience both! This is because the body reacts to illness the same way it reacts to stress: by releasing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin. Both these hormones will raise your blood sugar levels and cause insulin resistance. However, sometimes getting sick will lower your BG because you aren’t eating but still have your background insulin running at 100 percent… OR because you can’t keep your food down and just bolused for a meal.
When I’m high I have a few tricks to lower my blood sugar (check out my full list here). Some of the tricks i use when I’m sick are:
- Adjusting my Basal
- Taking a warm bath or shower immediately after an injection
- Staying VERY hydrated
When I keep dropping low I make sure to either drink juice or eat glucose tablets. Once I’m back in range I’ll eat something with protein or fat to help stabilize it. If I can’t keep anything down, then I’ll take activated charcoal. While I’m waiting for that to kick in, I’ll rub honey on the inside of my cheeks or let glucose tablets dissolve under my tongue.
When To Ask for Help
Most of the time colds pass within a day or so and all is gravy! But it’s important to know when to ask for help. Getting help can range anywhere from simply looping in a loved one to going to the doctor. I will ask for help when I experience any of the following or if I feel like I can’t take care of myself:
- A high fever for more than 2-3 days
- Vomiting or diarrhea for more than 6 hours
- BG above 250mg/dL for more than 24 hours
- Moderate or Large ketones
- Symptoms of DKA
Get to it!
Making your T1D sick day toolkit now will save you a huge headache when you get sick and need it. So get to it! Go make your basket now! You’ll be glad you did!