Diabetes Sick-Day Plan for Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

When your child has diabetes, many other illnesses can make his or her blood sugar go up. This can be dangerous. When your child is sick with an illness such as the flu, the body puts out hormones to fight infection. These hormones raise blood sugar levels. And they make it hard for insulin or other medicines to lower the blood sugar.

Work with your doctor to make a plan for what to do on days when your child is sick.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Work with your doctor to write up a sick-day plan for what to do on days when your child is sick. Your child's blood sugar can go up or down, depending on the illness and whether your child can keep food down. Call your doctor when your child is sick, to see if you need to adjust your child's pills or insulin.
  • Write down the diabetes medicines your child has been taking. Note if you have changed the dose based on your child's sick-day plan. Have this list with you when you call your doctor.
  • Have your child eat their normal types and amounts of food. Have your child drink extra fluids to prevent dehydration. This may include water and broth. Ask your doctor about how much and how often your child should eat and drink when sick.
    • If your child's blood sugar level is higher than the blood sugar level your doctor recommends (for example, above 240 milligrams per deciliter [mg/dL]), have your child drink extra liquids that don't have sugar. This includes water and sugar-free soft drinks.
    • If your child can't eat their usual foods, give extra liquids. This may include soup, sports drinks, or milk. Your child may also eat food that is gentle on the stomach. Try bananas, rice, crackers, gelatin, or applesauce.
  • Check your child's blood sugar every 3 to 4 hours. If it goes up fast, check it more often. And check it even through the night. Give your child insulin if your doctor told you to do so. If you and your doctor didn't have a sick-day plan for your child, call your doctor for advice.
  • If your child is taking insulin, do a test for ketones. Do this especially if your child's blood sugar is high.
  • Do not give your child any over-the-counter medicines unless you talk with your doctor first. These include pain relievers, decongestants, and herbal products and other natural medicines.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has passed out (lost consciousness).
  • Your child is confused or cannot think clearly.
  • Your child's blood sugar is very high or very low.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child's blood sugar stays outside the level your doctor set for him or her.
  • Your child has any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter Z747 in the search box to learn more about "Diabetes Sick-Day Plan for Children: Care Instructions".

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.