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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Managing insulin when you are sick

Te whakahaere i te taiaki huka mēnā e māuiui ana


See your doctor urgently if:

If you're ill, need surgery or go through a period of severe emotional stress, you may need to change your normal diabetes routine.

When you're unwell. your body releases hormones that increase your blood glucose levels. Managing diabetes to avoid developing high blood glucose levels is different when you're sick. You may need more insulin, even though you may not be eating as much as usual or even vomiting.

If you have type 1 diabetes, you also need to avoid developing diabetic ketoacidosis (which is often called DKA).

If you're unwell:

Guidelines for managing sick days

Surgery and fasting

FDP sick days surgeryIf you have to fast before having surgery or a medical procedure, make sure you have guidelines for adjusting your insulin beforehand. Speak to your general practice team about this.

Replacing fluid

You can take rehydration solutions, such as Gastrolyte to replace fluid and electrolytes lost through diarrhoea or dehydration. But rehydration solutions have relatively low concentrations of carbohydrates so you may need extra carbohydrates.

Take care with sweetened fluids if you get diarrhoea. You may have to dilute them up to five times so you can absorb them well.

Written by nursing staff at the Diabetes Centre, Christchurch. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed November 2022.


See also:

Diabetes & endoscopy

Page reference: 244426

Review key: HIDIA-21832