When a diabetic child becomes ill, parents are not only tending to the child’s cold or flu symptoms, but also working to manage her blood sugar levels, which can fluctuate when a child’s body is fighting off an illness.

According to the American Diabetes Association, our bodies fight disease by releasing hormones. While these hormones can help a child fight an illness, they can also increase a child’s blood sugar levels and make it harder for their body to properly use insulin.

When a diabetic child is sick it is likely they may need extra insulin, blood sugar checks as often as every two to three hours, and blood or urine ketone checks as often as every four hours. Additionally, the American Diabetes Association recommends that parents make sure children drink a lot of clear liquids – no caffeine, and continue to take their regular medicine.

Watch the video below for more tips on how to manage a child’s diabetes when they are sick and when to call a pediatrician.


Erika Davies, MD, RD, LD, is an endocrinology dietitian at Children's National.

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