Sick Day Toolkit: Type One Diabetes Edition

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Getting "normal-people-sick" when you have Type One Diabetes is terrifying. You're like "oh GREAT, something else to worry about!".

"What if I go low and can't keep something down to treat it?"

"What if I get ketones and go into DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis)?"

"Does this stupid infection have me on the fast track to a shared room at my local hospital?"

For the past 18 years of life with Type One I freak out when I get sick. I freak out because I have felt what DKA does to a person, I've seen friends die from it, and the week I spent in the hospital recovering from it was enough to give anyone anxiety for life. (you can watch my experience here)

Dealing with a heap of anxious feelings when sick is the exact opposite of helpful.  I will do anything to avoid ending up in the hospital, so doing everything I can to get better right away is the only way I find comfort.

Whether you are a caregiver or a person with a chronic illness, you've probably experienced some of these emotions. After years of fighting the anxiety of getting sick I've created my own toolkit of things I always keep on hand for sick days. 

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1. Phenergan or Zofran.

I don't typically go straight for pharmaceutical drugs (except insulin, obviously) but Phenergan is something I always keep on hand. It is an anti-nausea and mild sedative. The second I feel like throwing up is a possibility I quickly take one of these. Once the throwing up starts with Type One Diabetes, it is difficult to make it stop. Phenergan takes away that part of the stress and immediately calms me down. Talk to your doctor and he or she can help you pick the perfect anti-nausea to keep on hand for your specific situation.

 

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2. An Assortment of Water, Tea, and Seltzer.

Coming down with a cold, the flu, or a stomach virus means extra hydration is necessary, especially with elevated blood sugars. I don't know about you, but when I am feeling sick I can never predict what will sound good to me and what I will be able to keep down, so having a variety of choices is really helpful!

These are some of my favorite seltzers for when I really feel like drinking soda, and this tea is helpful for an upset stomach.

 

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3. Low Blood Sugar Snacks Galore.

Popsicles, ginger-ale, saltine crackers, and gatorade are my sick snacks of choice. For me, these are the easiest to get down when I'm feeling iffy. I keep at least two of these on hand at all times in case of emergency. 

 

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4. Headache remedies.

I always keep a few headache remedies on hand. This is a bit silly looking, but you'll be happy you have it when a headache strikes. Other favorites include peppermint and lavender oil–we love this blend and also this kit. The instant cooling and calming relief is amazing, and you only need one drop at a time (250 drops per 15mL bottle). Check out the "health" section of our website to learn more about oil quality and why it matters.

You can read more about headaches here.

 

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5. A caregiver.

Most of us like to feel independent, but being sick with Type One can't be one of those times. Make sure you have people checking in on you. Always ask for help and know that doing so never makes you weak.

 

Need more sick day tips? Join our private facebook group Chronically Us.