When Your Child Is Ill
When your child is ill it can be particularly difficult to manage
their blood glucose levels.
During an illness, surgical procedure or infection the body releases more glucose into the blood stream to help fight the illness. This can lead to hyperglycaemia and may require adjustments to their rapid acting insulin or other medication.
However, if your child is vomiting and/or having diarrhoea this could lead to hypoglycaemia if their insulin doses are not adjusted. Both factors will combine to make it harder to manage your child’s glucose levels – and this will be especially difficult as they are already feeling unwell and under the weather and most likely not wanting to eat or drink.
You will have better success and less distress when trying to manage diabetes with a sick child if you are prepared before it ever happens. To help you develop a sick day plan, it is likely that your child’s healthcare team will have given you some guidance and instructions on what to do if your child is unwell – so called ‘Sick Day Rules’.
These Sick Day Rules may include:
- Testing their blood glucose levels more often than usual ( maybe every 2 – 4 hours)
- Testing for ketones if their blood glucose level is 13.3mmol/L or above – this is necessary to prevent the development of diabetic ketoacidosis which will require urgent medical attention
- Giving them plenty to drink – ideally water or no added sugar squash
- Encouraging them to keep eating – small and often may be better – if they are vomiting and/or don’t feel like solid food then milky or sugary drinks may be given
- Making adjustments to their rapid acting insulin dose
And finally - most important of all – do not stop or reduce your child’s long acting insulin even when they are ill
If you are at all concerned about your child’s condition or are unable to bring down their ketone levels, or if you are unsure if you are able to manage their medication/symptoms at home – seek medical advice immediately.