When your child is sick with a stomach bug or flu, it's hard to keep a good schedule for eating and taking medications, especially when he or she can't keep anything down. What's the best way to handle your child's short-term illness?
- Check blood sugar every 4-6 hours and keep track of results
- Test for ketones often, especially if your child is vomiting or has diarrhea
- Call your doctor for guidelines for insulin treatment during the illness
- Try to give small amounts of food every 3 to 4 hours to keep blood glucose levels as normal as possible
- Have your child drink plenty of fluids. If your child cannot hold down solid food right now, offer drinks with carbohydrates in them, such as juice, jello, popsicles or broth. If your child is able to eat, offer plenty of sugar-free liquids and water to drink in addition to small, easily digestible snacks. For a list of good sick-day snacks for your child, visit the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
- Ask your pediatrician what over-the-counter medicines are safe for your child to take. Some cold and flu medications can affect blood sugar.
- If your child can't hold anything down for more than six hours, or is ill for more than 24 hours, call your child's healthcare provider or go to the emergency room.
Other Symptoms To Watch For
- Illness that lasts longer than 1 or 2 days
- Fever over 101 degrees
- Severe nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Rapid or labored breathing
- Excessive urination or excessive thirst
- Presence of ketones
- Worsening symptoms
Call your pediatrician immediately if you see any of these symptoms. If it's after hours or late at night and your doctor is not available, take a trip to the emergency room.
It's also a good idea to keep handy an updated list of all medications your child takes and a schedule of when he/she takes them. This way healthcare providers can tell your child's medication history at a glance. Include both diabetes medications and any others, including over-the-counter drugs and vitamins.