How to manage diabetes during a cold or flu

Every child comes down with a sore throat, cold or minor illness from time to time. When your child with diabetes is ill, there are simple steps you can take to help manage blood sugar levels. Being prepared, taking extra measures and having simple supplies on hand may help you and your family have a healthier cold and flu season.

Steps for families managing diabetes to stay healthy during cold and flu season

Wendy Novak Diabetes Center

The skilled team at the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center, located near Norton Children’s Hospital in the Novak Center for Children’s Health, is committed to providing diabetes care to help your child live life to the fullest.

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes care

  1. Practice good hand-washing for your family. The age-old question, “Did you wash your hands?” is still fashionable. Remind your child to wash his or her hands before eating, after using the bathroom and in settings where your child may touch a lot of surfaces (museums, playgrounds, stores). Teaching your child how to wash his or her hands in a wide variety of settings can be the first defense against illness.
  2. Have your child and family vaccinated for the flu.
  3. If your child becomes ill, check blood sugar levels more frequently. High blood sugar readings may indicate the need to check urine for ketones; insulin adjustments may be needed.
  4. Stay hydrated. Furnaces and heaters can rob inside air of moisture. Help your child remember to drink plenty of water.
  5. If your child is ill, have a thermometer handy. If your child’s temperature is 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above, call your pediatrician or primary care provider’s office to see if an appointment is needed.
  6. Check ketones if your child begins to vomit, has diarrhea, or is not eating or drinking as he or she normally does. If your child’s blood sugar is less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and ketones are present in the urine, give your child small sips of a clear, sugary drink to raise the blood sugar. Recheck the blood sugar in 30 minutes to an hour. Once the blood sugar is over 200 mg/dL, you are able to give extra insulin for ketones.
  7. Need additional assistance? Call your diabetes educator.


Norton Children's Hospital

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Wendy Novak Diabetes Center

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