What to do if you are sick ( achoo!)

Diabetic Living (USA) - - Doctor’s Orders -

STAY ON TOP OF YOUR BLOOD SUGAR

When you’re sick, your body pro­duces stress hor­mones that make it harder for your body to reg­u­late in­sulin, says Marvin Lipman, M.D., an en­docri­nol­o­gist in Scars­dale, New York, and former chief med­i­cal ad­vi­sor for Con­sumer Re­ports. So be sure to test your blood sugar reg­u­larly (gen­er­ally ev­ery two to four hours, but check with your doc­tor) to make sure it stays as close to nor­mal as pos­si­ble. If it’s ris­ing, your doc­tor may want you to take a higher dose of your di­a­betes med­i­ca­tion or in­crease your in­sulin dose, if you take in­sulin. If you have type 1 di­a­betes, check your urine two to three times a day for ke­tones. And weigh your­self daily: if your weight drops more than a cou­ple pounds, you may be de­hy­drated and your blood glu­cose lev­els could be get­ting out of con­trol.

BE CARE­FUL WITH MEDICINES

Some over-the-counter cold and flu med­i­ca­tions aren’t safe to take if you have di­a­betes.

For ex­am­ple, de­con­ges­tants act like the stress hor­mone adren­a­line on your body, dump­ing sugar into your blood­stream that can raise your blood sugar lev­els, ex­plains Lipman. Safe med­i­ca­tions in­clude saline nasal sprays, the pain re­liever ac­etaminophen, cough sup­pres­sants, such as dex­tromethor­phan, or cough ex­pec­to­rants like guaife­n­esin. If you’re us­ing cough syrups or lozenges, look for ones la­beled “sugar free.”

EAT AND DRINK THE RIGHT THINGS

You may not feel hun­gry when you’re sick, but it’s still im­por­tant to take in some nu­tri­ents, since your body needs fuel and flu­ids to help you re­cover. It also helps pre­vent you from get­ting de­hy­drated, which can raise blood sugar. If you feel too crummy to eat your reg­u­lar diet, try soft foods and liq­uids in­stead. Foods that con­tain 15 grams of carbs (1 carb serv­ing) in­clude ½ cup fruit juice, ½ cup reg­u­lar Jell-O, six saltine crack­ers, ½ cup ap­ple­sauce, and 1⁄3 cup noo­dles or rice. Try to drink 4 to 6 ounces of calo­rie-free liq­uid an hour. Op­tions in­clude wa­ter, unsweet­ened tea, and low-sodium chicken broth ( see page

34 for our fa­vorite broths).

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