High Blood Sugar - Sick Day Survival

You are at risk of having a high blood sugar reaction if you:

  • Have not taken your diabetes medications
  • Have an infection (flu and/or cold)
  • Over-eat
  • Are under stress (mental and / or physical)
  • Are taking other medications that can increase your blood sugars (Prednisone, Decadron, Solu-Medrol, Prograf, etc.)
  • Are over-treated for a low blood sugar


Check your blood sugars if you have any of these symptoms:



Call your Diabetes team if you:

  • Have a blood sugar reading greater than 300 mg/dl
  • Have a temperature of 101 degrees F or higher
  • Are unable to take diabetes medication(s)
  • Have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours or longer
  • Have stomach pains, difficulty breathing, extreme thirst, drowsiness,
  • Dryness of mouth

If you are sick:

  1. Always take your:
    • Blood sugar and check Ketones if applicable
    • Diabetes medications
    • Your diabetes medications may need to be adjusted by your doctor.
  2. Test your blood sugar every 4 hours. 
    • If your blood sugar continues to persist at 300 or higher, keep in contact with your diabetes management team
  3. Try to eat as much of your regular meals as possible
    • If this is hard to do, smaller, more frequent meals may be easier.
    • See the list below for foods that may be easier to eat on sick days
  4. Drink plenty of non-caloric, low sodium liquids.
    • Have 4 -6 ounces of fluid every hour to prevent dehydration.
  5. Rest, DO NOT exercise, and keep warm.
  6. Have your Sick Day Survival Kit available.


Sick day survival kit

  • Blood testing equipment
  • Thermometer
  • Ketone testing kit
  • Treatment kit for low blood sugars (Glucagon kit, Lifesavers, juice)
  • Sugar-free medication for colds, fevers, diarrhea, sore throats & cough
  • Phone number of the members of your Diabetes management team


Sick day foods that = 15 grams of carbohydrate

1/2 cup apple juice

1/3 cup grape juice

1 cup broth

1 cup sport drink

1/2 cup congee (rice soup)

1/2 cup regular soft drink (not diet)


1 cup regular ice cream

1/2 cup hot cereal

1 cup sugar free yogurt

1/2 cup mashed potatoes

6 saltine crackers

1 slice toast

1/2 cup regular Jell-O

1 small frozen juice bar

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