Publish date: 21 December 2020

Christmas is an exciting time even if it will be a bit different for us all this year. We might
be spending more time inside, making us less active than usual for this time of year.
However, it is still a good time to relax and enjoy some Christmas treats.

The team have revisited their tips for managing diabetes at Christmas and updated them for 2020:

“Relax and enjoy. If you are noticing some high glucose levels then you could try to get out for walk with your family”

“There’s no reason why children and young people with diabetes cannot enjoy festive foods and treats, just like anybody else. If your diet is healthy most of the time, treats at Christmas are fine, just try to make sure Christmas doesn’t last four weeks (and count your carbs)!”

“Check the labels of sausages, gravy and stuffing as some may contain carbohydrate, for example some stuffing may just contain meat whereas others may contain breadcrumbs or dried fruit, which contain carbohydrates”

“Excitement can lead to high or low glucose levels. If you are correcting a high glucose that is caused by excitement, only give 50% of the correction suggested by the bolus calculator”

“If you are eating out during the holidays (or ordering a takeaway/delivery) then have a look at the nutritional information on the website before you go – you then have a head start on carb counting!”

“An increased temporary basal rate might be useful for relaxing days at home or for long journeys”

“If you are using an insulin pump, rather than adjusting the basal rates of your current pattern, copy and create a new pattern to use for the holidays. You may already have a pattern that you used for lockdown which was adjusted for late nights and lie-ins!”

“Remember you may need to adjust the time your pump thinks you are going to “sleep” if you are using the TSlim with Control IQ as your sleep pattern may be different over Christmas”

“Some of our young people might be having some alcoholic drinks. Remember to stay safe – you may need less insulin if you have been drinking alcohol, you may also need an insulin free snack before going to bed. Always let the people around you know that you have diabetes so they can help you if needed.”

“If you are on injections then you might need to make adjustment to the doses or carb ratios during the school holidays – make a note of your original settings so you can go back to these after the holidays have finished”

“Christmas dinner is usually a bigger meal than normal. If you like turkey or pigs in blankets then this means more protein. High protein meals can impact glucose levels in the hours after eating so try using a combination type bolus (DualWave, extended or multiwave) over 2-3 hours to help prevent this rise.”

“If you are eating at different times of the day e.g. if you are waking up and eating breakfast later or eating later in the evening, your carbohydrate ratio might not be right. Check the time blocks in your pump/meter to make sure they are right for when you actually eat!”

“As we go into the new year, it is good time to review what supplies you have at home. If you use an insulin pump, check that you have insulin cartridges (that are in date!) and a pen device, for both long and short acting insulin, in case you need to give a pen injection”

The children and young people’s diabetes team wish all of our families a very happy Christmas and we hope to see you all again in 2021!

A reduced number of the diabetes team are available on the usual working days over
the Christmas period apart from 25th and 28th December and 1st January. For any out
of hours queries please contact the on-call service as usual.