Colds and the flu are unpleasant, but if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, they may be significantly worse. Your ability to control your blood sugar may be hampered by infections, dehydration, and sugar in some medications.
You can take action to assist avoid those issues and maintain your health.
What causes your blood sugar to rise?
Your body releases hormones to fight the illness when you have a cold. The drawback: As a result, it may be more difficult for you to correctly use insulin and your blood sugar levels may increase.
If you do have type 1 diabetes and find it difficult to control your blood sugar levels, it might result in issues like ketoacidosis. That is an accumulation of too much acid in your blood, which poses a serious health risk.
High blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes, especially those who are older, can result in the dangerous condition known as diabetic coma.
Keeping Flu and Colds at Bay
Make sure to routinely wash your hands, as well as the hands of your family. Although there is no vaccine for colds, getting an annual flu shot is your best course of action. If you have a child with diabetes, make sure they receive the vaccination as well. The CDC advises that for everyone aged 6 months and older.
Numerous flu strains can be avoided with a flu vaccine, as can the severity of flu symptoms. Given that the vaccine offers around six months of protection, September may be the optimal month to receive it. However, during flu season, you can obtain a flu shot at any time.
Encourage your close acquaintances, co-workers, and family to have the vaccine as well. If others around you are healthy, you are less likely to contract the flu.
Ways to protect yourself:
However, there are measures you may do to safeguard yourself. Get a flu vaccination! The greatest approach to safeguard yourself against the flu is to do this.
If your doctor advises you to take antiviral drugs to treat the flu, do so. Take regular action to safeguard your health.
The most effective method for preventing the flu is to get a flu vaccine. Both the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 flu vaccine are secure and reliable.
During flu season, there are two vaccines available to protect against seasonal flu viruses and the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus (often known as “swine flu”). Instead of the nasal spray version of the vaccination, you should get the flu shot, which protects against both seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1. Diabetes patients are also advised to get vaccinated against pneumococcal disease. Pneumonia is one condition that could develop after the flu. A diabetic management strategy should also include a pneumococcal vaccine.
The seasonal flu shot plus the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine should be administered to anyone with diabetes who is 6 months of age or older. Close family members and non-family carers for diabetes patients should also receive the vaccinations. Both flu vaccines can be given to a person simultaneously.
Diabetes patients should receive the flu shot rather than the nasal spray version of the vaccination. A needle is used to administer the flu vaccination, typically in the arm. You cannot catch the flu from the flu vaccine since it is created from a killed virus. For further details on receiving both vaccinations, consult your healthcare provider.
Take antiviral drugs as prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor may recommend the antiviral medications oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) and zanamivir (Relenza®) to treat the flu. They prevent flu viruses from multiplying inside of you. If you become unwell, antiviral medications may help you recover more quickly and with a milder illness. They might also stop the significant health issues that the flu can cause. Consult your healthcare practitioner right away about what to do if you develop a flu-like sickness because they perform best when taken within two days of being ill.
Take regular action to safeguard your health. When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. After using the tissue, discard it in the trash.
Always wash your hands with soap and water after coughing or sneezing. Use an alcohol-based hand rub in the absence of soap and water.
Do not touch your lips, nose, or eyes. This is how germs propagate.
Try to keep your distance from sick folks.
If you must stay at home, make sure you have adequate medicine and supplies for a week.
What to do if you are diabetic and experiencing flu symptoms?
Now is the time to discuss with your doctor how you can promptly call them if you suspect you have the flu.
Influenza symptoms can include:
- flu-like symptoms, a runny or stuffy nose, and a cough
- tiredness, headache, and bodily discomfort
- Additionally, some persons may experience vomiting and diarrhea.
- People may have respiratory symptoms from the flu, particularly 2009 H1N1, but no fever.
Guidelines for Diabetes Patients’ Sick Days
- You should take these extra precautions if you have diabetes and a flu-like condition.
- Call your physician, who might recommend medication to fend off the flu.
- Keep checking your blood sugar levels.
- Make sure to continue taking your insulin or diabetes medications. Even if you are unable to eat, continue to take them. Changes in your blood sugar levels might result from illnesses like the flu. Based on your blood sugar records and clinical symptoms, your doctor may change your diabetic medication dosage.
- If you have flu-like symptoms, stay inside for at least 24 hours after your fever has subsided (without using a fever-reducing medication).
Become dedicated to controlling your diabetes
You can learn the fundamentals of diabetes care from members of your diabetes care team, such as your primary care physician, diabetes care and education specialist, and dietitian, who can also provide support as you go. But it is up to you to take care of your illness.
Do all you can to learn about diabetes. Make exercising and eating well a part of your everyday regimen. Keep a healthy weight.
Follow the guidelines provided by your healthcare professional for controlling your blood sugar level and keep a close eye on your sugar levels. As prescribed by your doctor, take your prescriptions. When you need assistance, ask your diabetes care team for it.
Do all diabetics require a flu shot?
Everyone with diabetes should obtain a flu shot, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This covers all forms of diabetes, including type 1 and type 2, LADA (latent autoimmune diagnosis in adults), and gestational diabetes.
Like other diabetic organizations and professional bodies, the American Diabetic Association (ADA) also suggests annual flu vaccines for all PWDs and their families.
PWDs are more susceptible to COVID-19 and its effects on the body when they have the flu because it might impair the immune system, which causes fluctuating and higher glucose levels. Studies conducted after 2020 have demonstrated that PWDs are more likely — even three times more likely — than people without diabetes to experience more severe COVID-19 illness.
A kind of diabetes was present in around 30%Trusted Source of adults hospitalized with flu in recent seasons, according to the CDC. According to this 2017 study, PWDs are more likely to experience serious flu-related complications, and this 2022 study finds that this risk is even higher for persons 65 and older who have diabetes and are more likely to experience severe flu symptoms.
Because there is a distinct strain of the flu spreading each year, a vaccine is advised every year.
Is there a particular flu vaccine that diabetics should get?
There are various flu vaccines, including:
- Inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV): which is often administered as an injection in the upper arm, is regarded as the standard flu vaccination.
- Elderly flu shot: There are high-dose shots and one made with an adjuvant, which is a chemical that increases the immune system’s reaction to the vaccination, for the older population.
- Recombinant flu vaccine: Since this vaccination has a limited shelf life, it is less likely to be found.
- Nose snort flu vaccine: LAIV, which stands for live attenuated influenza, is a substitute. For non-pregnant individuals 2 to 49 years old who do not have certain underlying medical issues. Even though people with weakened immune systems are stated on the list, which undoubtedly includes PWDs, diabetes is not specifically mentioned as one of those underlying diseases.
- Xofluza: This new drug was accepted by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for the 2018–2019 flu season. The first flu antiviral was approved in 20 years. It is exclusively for people over the age of 12 who have experienced flu-like symptoms for no more than 48 hours. The FDA has increased the group of people 12 years of age and older who are most at risk of flu-related complications, such as those with diabetes, who can use Xofluzo for the 2019–20 flu season.
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