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This article originally posted 08 April, 2011 and appeared in  Safety and Error PreventionMedicationDiabetes Clinical Mastery Series Issue 28Patient Errors

Diabetes Disaster Averted #28: Insulin Resistance and the Flu

A patient called to report that they had the flu, were vomiting and had diarrhea. The patient was not eating and so assumed, because of this, that....

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they should not be taking their insulin. I had the patient check their blood sugars which were found to be over 340mg/dL.

Immediately I told them to drink some fluids and begin taking their basal insulin. I then helped them to adjust the dosage for the elevated blood sugars.

Lesson Learned: Omitting Insulin During Illness

One of the most common mistakes patients make with insulin, and one that often leads to hospitalization, is to neglect to take their insulin when they are ill. Such patients may think that they don’t need their insulin because they are nauseated or vomiting, and therefore not eating. In fact, however, more insulin is often needed in times of illness due to an increase in insulin resistance.

Make sure that you tell your patients the importance of maintaining their insulin injections if they get sick and to call if they have problems controlling their blood sugars, which almost always will be elevated during infections and sick days. 

Steve MacKenzie, R.Ph., CDE

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Diabetes in Control is partnered with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) to help ensure errors and near-miss events get reported and shared with millions of health care practitioners. The ISMP is a Patient Safety Organization obligated by law to maintain the anonymity of anyone involved, as well as omitting or changing contextual details for that purpose. Help save lives and protect patients and colleagues by confidentially reporting errors to the ISMP.

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Copyright © 2011 Diabetes In Control, Inc.

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This article originally posted 08 April, 2011 and appeared in  Safety and Error PreventionMedicationDiabetes Clinical Mastery Series Issue 28Patient Errors

Past five issues: Issue 744 | Diabetes Clinical Mastery Series Issue 203 | Issue 743 | Diabetes Clinical Mastery Series Issue 202 | SGLT-2 Inhibitors Special Edition August 2014 |


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