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October 28, 2008

Sick Days, Type 2

Question from Vienna, Virginia, USA:

How do I treat my diabetes when I have a cold or the flu?


Intercurrent illness is a time when your blood sugars are more likely to increase because of the production of stress hormones that rise when you are sick. How high the sugars go is a determinant of whether you should do more to treat them. A person with insulin can actually give additional insulin to meet the challenge of hitting target blood sugar values. This may not be as easy with type 2 diabetes, especially if you are on an oral agent. I would recommend discussing how high your sugars go during these episodes. Once you have done that, your doctor and diabetes care team can give you some ideas of what you can do to improve control during these periods of intermittent illness. At a minimum, you can avoid those things that make your blood sugar even worse. You may also be instructed to change your medication based on your blood sugar values. However, specific instructions should be discussed with your physician.