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Coughs, colds and diabetes

For many people, the chilly month of January brings winter bugs. If you’re ill you may not feel like eating, but, if you've got diabetes, it’s really important to try to get adequate nutrition, particularly carbohydrate and fluids. Try these top tips for eating well when you're under the weather.

Eating well

  1. Keep to your normal meal pattern if at all possible, but if this is too difficult, eat smaller meals, more frequently. You’ll find this easier than three larger meals, and it will also help to increase your appetite.
  2. If you’re off your food or can’t eat properly, you can replace your meals with carbohydrate-containing drinks such as soup, milk or fruit juice. Your dietitian may suggest high-energy supplement drinks between meals, too.

Staying hydrated

  1. It’s important to drink plenty of sugar-free drinks, particularly water, and keep drinking as much as your can. If you’re being sick and can’t keep anything down, take regular sips of sugary drinks such as fruit juice, cola or lemonade, which can help to regulate your blood glucose levels.
  2. Keep taking your insulin and/or other diabetes medications even if you’re not eating, and speak to your healthcare team if you aren’t able to keep food and drinks down. Remember, your blood glucose level naturally goes up during illness and you need to keep it under control.

Managing your health and your diabetes

  1. You may need to change your dose of insulin and/or other diabetes medications. If you check your blood glucose levels at home, you might have to do it more often when you are ill. Your results will help you and your healthcare professional to decide the changes you need to make to your medications.
  2. Contact your GP or a member of your diabetes healthcare team if you are concerned about anything or unsure what to do about your insulin and/or other diabetes medications.
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