What Do You Do When You Get Sick And Can't Eat Normally?

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Question: What do you do when you get sick and can't eat normally?

Answer: When you have diabetes and you get sick, it's definitely a time to be paying special attention to your treatment plan. You certainly need to be paying attention to the kinds of foods that you can tolerate, but you also need to be paying attention to the medication that you're on. Food and medication and activity work together to manage your blood sugars and your diabetes. So you may need to be making some medication adjustments if you can't eat your usual amount of food.

Some of the things that you may want to be taking a look at, again, are things that are more easy to eat and more easy to digest. So liquid is a good place to start. People get dehydrated; it's not uncommon, when you're ill, to be dehydrated. So it's important that you start by getting plenty of fluids. Water is, of course, a good one. In order to get calories, though, you want to be looking at some things like maybe some juices that are easier to consume, soups -- things that are, again, liquid and clear. It's sometimes referred to as a 'clear-liquid diet.' Those are oftentimes the easiest to be eating and consuming when you've got any sort of nausea or are not able to keep foods down. But if you are able to eat more solid foods, it's, again, things that are easier for you to eat; it could be some things like cottage cheese, or things that don't have a lot of chewing and fiber contained in them that may be giving you some problems. So a lot of it is determining what you are most able to tolerate and handle when you're ill.

Most importantly, you really need to talk about these with your healthcare professional so that you can plan, in case of illness, that you've got a plan ready to go. You want to know what you should do if you're getting a cold or the flu, and what you may need to do if your illness is more serious. So be sure to talk with your healthcare professional about some specifics that will make sure that you get the kinds of food intake and medication adjustments that you need when you do get sick.


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