How To Decrease Your Chance Of Getting The Flu
With COVID-19 still present in our collective memory, today we would like to discuss another virus that has lived amongst us for a long time. This well-known virus appears most commonly with the arrival of autumn. and its symptoms were initially compared with the coronavirus. We, of course are talking about the flu.
The flu, like colds or other common illnesses, interferes with the management of your diabetes. The flu may increase your blood glucose levels. In some cases, your blood glucose levels may decrease, because you may have lost your appetite to eat regularly. In addition to the annoying symptoms flu causes, the medications used to treat them can alter your blood glucose levels.
Here are three basic tips to avoid the flu.
- Request for your annual flu vaccination at your health centre. Research has shown a decrease in the risk of getting the flu is you are vaccinated. Flu vaccines are periodically updated to match the current viruses that we are exposed to.
- Hygiene, as in the case of COVID-19, is essential. Wash your hands regularly and well to avoid infection.
- Plan ahead and ensure you have all your necessary medications and equipment for your medical conditions.
If, despite taking preventive measures, you end up with a flu-like symptoms, keep the following tips in mind:
- Measure your blood glucose every 1 to 3 hours, especially if you use insulin.
- Hydration is very important: drink 100 - 300 ml of liquids every hour (unsweetened liquids: water, soft drinks without sugar, infusions, broths).
- If you experience vomiting, diarrhoea or a high fever, you will need to call your doctor, diabetes educator or go to the hospital.
- Keep taking your diabetes medication, whether it's oral antidiabetics or insulin. In the latter case, with the help of your diabetes healthcare team, you can adjust doses to the food eaten or the blood glucose levels that you have during the days of the flu.
- It is important to be aware of the presence of ketones in the blood, especially if you have type 1 diabetes. When recurrent illnesses like the flu appear, blood glucose levels are altered. If your blood glucose is above 250mg (13.9mmol/l), it is recommended that you use strips to measure ketones in blood, as you may require extra doses of ultrafast insulin.
- You must have plenty of rest, as this will make recovery a little faster.
- Follow the health guidelines recommended by your country and region.
We are living in times where we have to live with viruses that can alter our daily routines. The best approach is to be prepared and make use of the best information available to decrease your risk of getting sick and staying healthy so you can continue to effectively manage your diabetes.
1. CDC. Flu and People with Diabetes. https://www.cdc.gov/. 2020. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/diabetes.htm [Accessed August 2020].
2. NHS UK. What to do when you're ill. https://www.nhs.uk/. 2018. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-1-diabetes/what-to-do-when-youre-ill/. [Accessed August 2020].