Diabetes and Sick Days

12 March 2018

Managing diabetes is demanding enough. Throwing in an illness – even the most common – and it can make diabetes daunting. Team Novo Nordisk and Team Type 1 athletes weigh in below on what helps get them through cold and flu season.

Rob Mullen, Mountain Biker

“My advice for managing diabetes on sick days is to expect the unexpected. Typically, when I’m sick, my normal routine is thrown off, and I end up on a diabetes rollercoaster. I plan ahead, mentally and medically, to deal with whatever diabetes throws at me. It also helps me to scale back on training until I’m back in solid health. No one’s season is ruined by a day off but lingering fatigue from training while sick can delay recovery!”

Luis Elizalde, Runner

“When I feel a cold coming on, I proactively increase the amount of rest I get, check my blood glucose often to watch for out-of-range trends and eat a lot of healthy foods. My best offense is a good defense! And, I try to always be prepared with “sick day foods”…Gatorade is my go-to!”

Chrysa Malosh, Mountain Biker

“For me, it’s important to have a support system in place…a group of individuals who understand the nuances of managing diabetes with a cold or illness. I don’t always need help, but I rest easier knowing someone is there if I need keytone strips or Gatorade. My diabetes support family is sometimes the biggest resource I have when it comes to staying mentally and emotionally strong. I make sure my network is in place, and I reciprocate and help others whenever possible.”

Andreas Petz, Triathlete

“I stick to a short list of rules when I’m not feeling well:

  • I check my blood glucose more frequently than usual. Mine usually has more variability during sick days and I most often need more medication than normal
  • I make sure to stay hydrated by drinking water and using supplements like Nuun
  • If possible, I eat a well-balanced diet that includes a lot of vegetables to make sure I get the vitamins and minerals I need to get well
  • I take it easy! I don’t put extra stress on my body or return to my usual schedule before I have fully recovered.”

Mandy Marquardt, Cyclist

“On sick days, I test often, drink lots of water, and just rest. It’s easy to start cleaning and doing chores, but I resist and listen to my body instead. When starting back with my usual exercise and training schedule, I ease into it knowing there will be will be some onset fatigue. For preventing sick days and staying healthy during travel, I take vegetable capsules and eat a lot of greens. I also snack on healthy foods – salad, vegetable packets, rice cakes with cashew butter. I always work to keep my immune system healthy and fueled.”

Checking your blood sugar often, getting plenty of rest and eating a healthy diet seem to be popular courses of action. Here’s to a healthy and active 2018!

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