Type 1 diabetesWhat to do when you're ill

Having type 1 diabetes doesn't mean you're likely to get ill more often than usual.

But if you do get ill, it can make your blood glucose higher, so you'll have to take extra care, particularly if you're being sick or not eating much.


  • keep taking your insulin
  • test glucose more often than normal
  • drink lots of water or sugar-free drinks to avoid dehydration
  • check for ketones – you can get strips from your care team to test your pee
  • try to eat – if you can't eat, drink sugary or milky drinks, try ice cream, or suck on sweets


  • do not worry about taking sugary medicine – small amounts won't matter

Flu vaccine

Get the flu vaccine every year. Everyone with type 1 diabetes can get it for free.

Check with your GP surgery when they offer the flu vaccine – it's usually in October and November.

Going to hospital

If you end up in A&E for something that isn't diabetes, like a broken bone, tell staff as soon as you arrive that you have type 1 diabetes.

Make sure staff know how important it is for you to have food containing carbs.

If you can't eat because you need a test or an operation, you should be able to get a glucose drip.

If you need to stay in hospital, tell anyone who's treating you that you have diabetes – don't assume they'll know.

Check your blood glucose levels more than usual. The stress of being in hospital and moving around less might make them higher.

Diabetes UK has information about what to do if you're sick.

Page last reviewed: 14/05/2018
Next review due: 14/05/2021