We all get colds and flus from time to time but for diabetics colds and flus can be a bit more serious. People with diabetes are more prone to infections so it is important to make sure a cold and flu doesn't turn nasty. Below are some simple tips and advice which should be a big help should you get a cold or flu.
1) Drink plenty of fluids to help avoid dehydration - If you're not eating properly and your dehydrated your blood glucose levels could become too low. Dehydration itself can cause you problems as well.
2) Rest - plenty of rest will allow your body to repair and fight off the cold and flu bugs. Your body will be weaker when you have a cold or flu so help it by giving your body less to do and focus on fighting the infection.
3) Keep a good intake of Vitamin C and Zinc - Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits such as oranges and juices or you can take supplements. If you do use supplements you do not need the high strength varieties e.g. 1000mg just use the standard strengths.
4) High temperature - If you have high temperature above 38 degrees then let your doctor know. Paracetamol is good to lower temperature. If you are on medicines make sure you check with your pharmacist that you can take paracetamol with your medicines. (Nearly all diabetic medicines are compatible with paracetamol but it is still good to check). If you have a high temperature this could be a sign of infection.
5) Avoid flu remedies with decongestants. Theoretically they could
make the signs of persistent high blood glucose harder to identify and if you are on blood pressure lowering medicines they could raise blood pressure.
6) Monitor your glucose levels regularly. If your levels are greatly out of the target range then see your doctor or if you are on insulin, and can make changes to your insulin regime, then you may need to adjust accordingly but make sure you have your doctor's permission.
7) Monitor your ketones - if your blood glucose levels become high this may result in the production of ketones, this can happen more often with type 1 diabetics. Check your urine ketones with a simple urine ketone strips such as ketostix and and let your doctor know i you have any positive results.
8) Take your diabetes medicines and/or insulin - if you can take your medicines they will help you recover faster by making sure your body is functioning properly. In some cases your cold or flu could get worse if you don't take your diabetes medicines or insulin.
9) Prevention is better than cure - a flu jab vaccine can prevent certain types of flu. If you can get access to the flu jab it would be well worth preventing flu. Ask your doctor if you can have access to the flu jab.
10) Sugar free medicines - You can use lozenges for sore throats and cough suppressants for dry coughs. Ask your pharmacist for the sugar free varieties. If you have a chesty cough (a cough with mucus) and the mucus is dark, this is a sign of infection and you should go see your doctor. Diabetics are much more prone to infections.
Hopefully, you'll be able to use these tips to prevent your cold and flu becoming serious and recover faster.
Now you've read our article on diabetes and colds & flu we would recommend you read our article on What is diabetes?. There is plenty of useful knowledge in the article.