Cold Weather and Type 1 Diabetes: Tips to Get You to Spring


One of my favorite winter activities is ice fishing. I recently caught this black crappie in 23 feet of water using a minnow and bobber. The temperature that day in northern Minnesota was -30 below! My fish was a delicious, blood-sugar friendly meal, too!

I pride myself on being a resident expert on cold weather and snow. After all, I was born and raised in northern Minnesota where just this last week temperatures dropped to -60! I have 33 years of experience living in cold weather, and 20 years managing type 1 diabetes in this climate.

Here are my top 5 blood sugar management tips to help you get through these tough months: ❄️☃️

Click here to read the full blogpost:

Diabetes & the Flu


Having a pharmacist as a father I’m constantly reminded every fall that I MUST get a flu shot. I’m always compliant, knowing the last thing that I want for the impending winter season is the flu combined with type-1 diabetes. In my mind, a terrible combination.

This past week I had planned to go on a business trip, but drive so that I could also stop to see close friends along the route. It was an ambitious trip. 7 days. 5 states. 8 close friends. Oh yeah, and some business to conduct. 🙂

The trip came to a halting STOP on day 3. I was staying in Grand Rapids, MI with a college friend when I got very sick overnight. I knew it was the flu. That morning I diligently checked my blood sugars, but I couldn’t keep any food or liquid down. I ended up making the decision to go to the emergency room that afternoon to be checked out. I in fact had the flu. The point is just because you get the flu shot doesn’t make you immune to all the different strands out there. Unfortunately for me I was not home and stayed the next 3 days in a hotel trying to recover. I went back to the basics of knowing what to get when you have the flu and diabetes. Check blood sugar often.sprite Sip on Powerade & regular Sprite. Get lots of sleep. Saltine crackers are your best friend.

Here is some great information that I found through the American Diabetes Association’s website on what to do on sick days (I printed this out and stuck it in my drawer so that I have it as a reference the next time I get sick)…

Having the cold or flu is definitely no fun. If you have diabetes, it can also make your blood glucose levels go crazy.

Always talk to your D-team about what you should do when you get sick.

Here are some tips on what you can do to help keep your blood glucose in check. Again, be sure to call your D-team when you are sick for specific guidance.

  • Keep taking your insulin. You may think it would make sense to cut back since you’re not eating as much, but when you’re sick, sometimes you need more insulin. Stay in contact with your D-team when you’re sick.
  • Eat regularly. You may not have much of an appetite, but it’s important to try to get some carbs at meal times. If you’re having trouble keeping food down, try sports drinks, juice, soup broth, or even a frozen fruit bar.
  • Drink a lot of water. When you’re sick you’re always in danger of becoming dehydrated. Stick to non-caffeinated drinks. If you have trouble keeping fluids down because you are throwing up, drink small amounts – sips, or just a teaspoon or so – at a time, about every 5 minutes. This will help keep you from getting dehydrated.
  • Talk to your D-team about what kinds of medicines they recommend.
  • Check your blood glucose often, every 2-4 hours. Since blood glucose can go crazy when you’re sick, it’s good to keep a close eye on it.
  • Check your ketones often. The biggest danger when you’re sick is DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis). If ketones get too high and you don’t treat it, you could get even sicker! If you are vomiting or have diarrhea, check even more often. 

Sick Day Snacks
You may not feel like eating what you normally eat when you’re sick so here are some snack ideas. These snacks have about 10-15 grams of carbs in them.

Fluid Snacks

  • 1 double-stick Popsicle®
  • 1 cup Gatorade® or sports drink
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup soup
  • 4 ounces apple or orange juice
  • 1/2 cup regular soft drink (not diet) 

Food Snacks

  • 6 saltines
  • 5 vanilla wafers
  • 4 Lifesavers®
  • 3 graham crackers
  • 1 slice dry toast (not light bread)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup cooked cereal
  • 1/2 cup ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • 1/2 cup regular ice cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free pudding
  • 1/2 cup regular (not sugar-free) Jell-O®
  • 1/2 cup custard
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup sherbet or sorbet
  • 1/4 cup regular pudding


Screen shot 2012-11-02 at 4.47.03 PMHere’s to better days to come…

What are your sick day strategies?