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Diabetes & The Flu

October 1, 2009
Reinbeck Courier

As cold and flu season rapidly approaches, it is extremely important for people with diabetes to take care of themselves. Not only does being sick increase blood glucose levels, but it also typically prohibits proper nutrition and eating habits. Additionally, diabetes can make the immune system more susceptible to severe cases of the flu.

In anticipation of a severe flu outbreak this season, Marc Wolf, registered pharmacist and CEO of Diabetic Care Services, provides the following tips for people with diabetes to properly care for themselves throughout the cold and flu season.

*Wash your hands frequently. Carry and use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not readily available.

*Continue to take your diabetes medications (pills or insulin) even if you are unable to eat. Contact your physician or pharmacist and see if he or she recommends taking additional insulin.

*Test your blood glucose every three to four hours.When you are sick you feel lousy regardless of blood sugar levels, making it difficult to identify blood sugar highs and lows.If your blood glucose is lower than 60 mg/dL or remains more than 300 mg/dL, call your doctor or go to the hospital.

*It is safe to take over-the-counter medications; however, many liquid cold and flu medications and cough drops are high in sugar.Be sure to select a medication that is low in sugar like Diabetic Tussin, available

*Weigh yourself daily while you are ill. Losing weight without actively trying can be a sign of high blood glucose.

*Drink plenty of liquids to say hydrated, but stay away from drinks with caffeine or those high in sugar.

*Try to eat as much as you usually do.If you are having a hard time eating or keeping down solids, eat soft foods like toast, yogurt or soup and drink liquids to consume the same number of carbohydrates you typically do when you are well.If it is difficult to manage soft foods and you need glucose in your diet, try a product like Glucose RapidSpray, available, which quickly and conveniently provides glucose in a spray (no chewing or swallowing required).

*Check your ketones.If they get too high, call your doctor as quickly as possible to help prevent serious complications.



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