Should I Get A Flu Shot If I Have Diabetes?
Having type 1 or type 2 diabetes puts you at increased risk of illness because elevated blood sugar weakens the immune system. Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to protect yourself. Fall is here, and that means that along with pumpkins and hay rides, it’s influenza (flu) season—which can last until May. For those with diabetes, flu isn’t just a drag: It can result in hospitalization, and occasionally even death. Fortunately, a vaccine can slash your risk of the illness by an estimated 40-60%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The flu shot also lowers your chances of hospitalization, which is most common in flu patients with chronic conditions like diabetes. The vaccine can also “prevent major respiratory infections during the flu season,” says Kavita Seetharaman, MD, staff physician at Joslin Diabetes Center, a Boston-based non-profit affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Why Is the Flu So Dangerous for People with Diabetes? “As with any other infection, the flu virus can cause inflammation, congestion, and mucus production in the respiratory tract,” as well as cough, fever, and even breathing difficulties, Dr. Seetharaman says. But for diabetes patients, there’s another risk. “When patients with diabetes are not feeling well,” due to illness, infection, or injury, “they can become more insulin resistant. Blood sugar rises [even if patients aren’t eating], and ketones can develop,” she explains. Ketones are chemicals that are produced when there’s not enough glucose (sugar) to fuel the metabolism; the presence of ketones (which can be detected with over-the-counter test strips) indicate that the body is using fat for energy. Patients with diabetes can accumulate ketones in the blood, which can make Continue reading >>
Flu And People With Diabetes
People with diabetes (type 1 or type 2), even when well-managed, are at high risk of serious flu complications, often resulting in hospitalization and sometimes even death. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. The flu also can make chronic health problems, like diabetes, worse. This is because diabetes can make the immune system less able to fight infections. In addition, illness can make it harder to control your blood sugar. The illness might raise your sugar but sometimes people don’t feel like eating when they are sick, and this can cause blood sugar levels to fall. So it is important to follow the sick day guidelines for people with diabetes. Vaccination is the Best Protection against Flu CDC recommends that all people who are 6 months and older get a flu vaccine. It is especially important for people with diabetes to get a flu vaccine. Flu shots are approved for use in people with diabetes and other health conditions. The flu shot has a long, established safety record in people with diabetes. People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of developing pneumococcal pneumonia because of the flu, so being up to date with pneumococcal vaccination is also recommended. Pneumococcal vaccination should be part of a diabetes management plan. Talk to your doctor to find out which pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for you. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away after using it; Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing; Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth (germs are spread that way); and Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care. If you are sick with flu-like symptoms you should sta Continue reading >>
Cold And Flu And What To Do
Getting sick can be scary and especially when you or a loved one is Type 1. As the body tries to fight off the virus, blood glucose levels elevate, causing rapid and dangerous highs. And when youre not feeling well, you may find it difficult to keep down fluids or even eat, causing you to go too low. Then theres the issue of medicine which to take and how to dose for it if needed. Theres a lot to consider, but rest assured! Weve talked to doctors about what is recommended in terms of planning ahead and the protocol if you or your loved one are faced with a bug. While this season brings with it challenges to staying healthy, here are some helpful guidelines when facing off with the cold or flu. Whatsthedifference between a cold and flu? A cold is a milder respiratory infection than a flu. While both can cause a soar throat, cough, runny nose and congestion, a flu is usually accompanied by body aches, fever and lasts much longer than a common cold. As a Type 1 or as a caretaker of a Type 1, you should plan ahead so youre readynot only for the cold, a common and frequent ailment, but also, the more unruly cousin the flu, who outstays his welcome and can cause serious havoc if left unchecked. lists of recommended medications you can taketo alleviatecertain symptoms the contact of your doctor and when / where they can be reached during regular hours as well as holiday time a plan of action (if / then scenarios), how often you should check your BGLs and whenyou should contact a doctor. low-calorie sports drinks (for fast-acting sugars and electrolytes) These are usually offered in the fall and are highly recommended for anyone who is at higher risk for complications if they contract influenza. Youve heard it a million times, but it really is one of the best ways to prevent c Continue reading >>
Diabetes And The Flu
Flu can be especially hard on people with diabetes. Here are some tips to protect your self from the flu and take care of yourself if you get sick. Get Vaccinated! The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone with diabetes get a flu vaccination.The CDC has a great Flu Facts page. There is a both a shot and a nasal spray available: ‘Flu shot:’ an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions. If a pregnant mother is vaccinated, the immunity will pass to the child! Nasal-spray flu vaccine: a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes called LAIV for “live attenuated influenza vaccine” or FluMist). LAIV (FluMist) is approved for use in healthy* people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant. Follow Common Sense Precautions. Wash your hands regularly, stay away from sick people, and stay home if you start showing symptoms (it’s the polite thing to do). High Fever Muscle Aches Headaches Exhaustion Dry cough or Sore Throat Runny or Stuff Nose Stomach Symptoms (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) in children Watch for High Blood Sugar. Flu and other illnesses can cause high blood sugar. So test your blood sugar often and consult your doctor on how to keep your numbers in line. If you have a pump, your doctor may recommend setting an increased temporary basal rate. Choose Flu Medicine Carefully. If you take an over-the-counter medication to combat flu symptoms, read the label carefully. Many medicines contain a lot of sugar and can spike your blood sugar. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a recommendation. Have questions about how others d Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Influenza: A Dangerous Combination
Nov. 14, 2017 is World Diabetes Day, the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign that aims to unite the global diabetes community to produce a powerful voice to highlight the realities and threats of dealing with this chronic medical condition. Diabetes is a major threat to health globally. In the U.S., diabetes rates have almost doubled in the past two decades, from 5.5 percent in 1994 to 9.3 percent in 2012. An estimated 30.3 million people, or 9.4 percent of the U.S. population, had diabetes in 2015. The CDC projects that one in three adults could have diabetes by 2050. More than one-quarter of seniors (ages 65 and older) has diabetes (25.9 percent, or 11 million seniors). In the European region, about 60 million people have diabetes, or about 10.3 percent of men and 9.6 percent of women aged 25 years and over. In Africa, the rate of diabetes remains low, but the number of people living with diabetes has dramatically increased from 4 million in 1980 to 25 million in 2014. More than 60 percent of those with diabetes live in Asia, with nearly half in China and India combined. The Asia Pacific region has 138 million people with diabetes, and the number may increase to 201 million by 2035. The prevalence of diabetes is increasing mostly due to increases in obesity, unhealthy eating habits and decreased physical inactivity. Globally, diabetes kills about 3.4 million people annually. WHO projects that diabetes deaths will double between 2005 and 2030. Diabetes itself is not a major problem unless the blood glucose is uncontrolled and either rises too high or drops too low. If diabetes is not managed correctly (meaning blood glucose is not properly regulated), sufferers are likely to become progressively sick and debilitated. Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, Continue reading >>
Type 2 Diabetes And Flu: Does Illness Influence Blood Sugar Levels?
Nobody likes getting sick. Cos' let's face it, there are few things more miserable than being confined to a bed or couch struggling to breathe and carry out daily activities. And unfortunately, diabetes increases risk of illness of many kinds, including the flu. The reason this happens is because elevated blood sugar levels weaken the immune system, making it more susceptible to infection. And on the opposite side, infections raise blood sugar levels because as the immune system is mounting it’s attack, it needs energy to fight infection. So catching the flu can result in a bit of a vicious cycle. What is the Flu? Influenza is a viral infection that affects millions of people each year. It is a notoriously contagious respiratory illness that commonly infects the nose, throat and lungs. It spreads from person to person through droplets expectorated when people cough, sneeze or talk. Additionally, if these small droplets are on surfaces (counters, handles etc), people can touch them, then touch their face and infect themselves. People may be infected and infect others before they even know they’re sick and even after they’ve begun feeling better. Generally people are contagious for about a week, though this obviously will vary depending on the person. Once a person is infected, symptoms show up within 1-4 days. Symptoms of influenza Please note, not everyone will get all of these symptoms and some of them can be symptoms of other disease. If you have any of these signs, you should schedule a doctor’s visit for proper diagnosis. Symptoms of influenza include: Fever/chills Cough Sore throat Runny nose Body aches Headaches Fatigue Flushed skin Vomiting and diarrhea Complications of influenza Complications of influenza can include: Pneumonia Ear infections Sinus Infec Continue reading >>
What To Do With Diabetes And The Flu
Dealing with diabetes and SWOOP in comes flu season? Lets see what our best defenses are. Get a flu shot. You might think its too late in the season to vaccinate, but its not. Flu shots are still readily available across the country and you can and should get one. (And if youre already dealing with the flu, skip to the next set of recommendations. Also, Im sorry youre sick.) Track your symptoms. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, aching body, headache, chills, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and/or diarrhea. Take preventative actions. Do what you can to keep germs at bay. Wash your hands with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) often throughout the day, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth (because thats a delicious way for germs to jump into your body). Dont share drinks or utensils, in efforts to keep germs contained. If youre sick, STAY HOME. This can be frustrating advice, especially when your job depends on you being there, but do your best to keep your sick self, or sick child, at home. Dont go to the grocery store, dont drop something off at work keep your germs at home. If youre sick, call your doctor early. Dont wait until day 5 of your illness to reach out to your medical team. As soon as symptoms start, reach out, as antiviral drugs work best when started as early as possible (the Centers for Disease Control recommend within 48 hours of symptoms starting). Involving your doctor early can make a big difference in your recovery. Dont forget about diabetes. Even if you have the flu, you still need to take all of your diabetes medications , and you also need to keep extra tight tabs on your blood sugars. Checking for ketones is also crucial, especially if you are running high and/or dehydrated. And if youre Continue reading >>
Cold Medicines That Are Safe For Diabetes
Searching for relief for your runny nose, sore throat, or cough? Many over-the-counter cough, cold, and flu remedies list diabetes as an underlying condition that may indicate you should leave the medication on the shelf. The warnings are clear: "Ask a doctor before use if you have: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes." Unfortunately, your doctor is not along for the trip to the pharmacy. Because illness causes your body to release stress hormones that naturally raise blood glucose, you'll want to be sure that over-the-counter medications won't increase blood glucose levels, too. Simple Is Best for Cold Medicines Keep it simple by choosing an over-the-counter medication based on the types of ingredients proven to relieve your particular symptoms. Often a medication with just one ingredient is all you need to treat your symptoms rather than agents with multiple ingredients. "To choose the correct medication, take time to speak to a pharmacist," says Jerry Meece, R.Ph., CDE, of Gainesville, Texas. "The proper remedies may not only make you feel better, but also cut the length of the illness and possibly save you a trip to the doctor." Oral cold and flu pills are often a better choice than syrups with the same ingredients because the pills may contain no carbohydrate. If you decide to use a syrup, look for one that is sugar-free. If you can't find one, the small amount of sugar in a syrup will likely affect your blood sugar less than the illness itself, Meece says. Safe OTC Cold Medicines Various over-the-counter medications are designed to treat specific symptoms. Many pharmacists recommend these products for people with diabetes. Symptom: Cough Best option: Anti-tussive dextromethorphan (Delsym, Diabetic Tussin NT [includes acetaminophen, diphenhydramine]) Sympt Continue reading >>
What Is Influenza?
People with diabetes are at high risk of serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year, and vaccinating the entire family. If you have diabetes, you are three times more likely to be hospitalised and three times more likely to die from the flu and its complications than other people. The flu may also interfere with your blood glucose levels. So prevent flu and get a flu shot! Influenza is highly contagious as the viruses are spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes small virus-containing droplets into the air. If you’re nearby, you can breathe them in and infect your respiratory tract. However, it’s important to remember that touching contaminated surfaces (including hands) and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes can also lead to infection. Influenza infection usually has different symptoms and causes a more severe illness than most other common viral respiratory infections and may be a life-threatening infection in certain people; it should not be confused with the common cold! Influenza, and its potential complications, can be very serious for people living with diabetes. The NHMRC recommends vaccination in adults and children older than 6 months with chronic pulmonary or circulatory disease, including severe asthma, and other chronic illness that require regular medical follow-up or hospitalisation in the preceding year. People living with diabetes need to get vaccinated– it could save their lives and will ensure they are protected when others bring the infection into their workplaces or social environment. People who work with or live with people who are at risk of complications, such as people living with diabetes, should also be immunised to avoid spreading the flu. People can unknowingly infect othe Continue reading >>
What Should A Person With Diabetes Do If They Get Sick With Flu Or Cold?
There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy. Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Flu spreads mainly person-to-person through the coughing or sneezing of infected people. If you get sick, the CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. Be sure to continue taking your diabetes pills or insulin. Don’t stop taking them even if you can’t eat. Your health care provider may even advise you to take more insulin during sickness. Test your blood glucose every four hours, and keep track of the results. Drink extra (calorie-free) liquids, and try to eat as you normally would. If you can’t, try to have soft foods and liquids containing the equivalent amount of carbohydrates that you usually consume. Weigh yourself every day. Losing weight without trying is a sign of high blood glucose. Check your temperature every morning and evening. A fever may be a sign of infection. Call your health care provider or go to an emergency room if any of the following happen to you: You feel too sick to eat normally and are unable to keep down food for more than 6 hours. You're having severe diarrhea. You lose 5 pounds or more. Your temperature is over 101 degrees F. Your blood glucose is lower than 60 mg/dL or remains over 300 mg/dL. You have moderate or large amounts of ketones in your urine. You're having trouble breathing. You feel sleepy or can't think clearly. For more information, see: Continue reading >>
Diabetes And The Flu
Diabetes can turn a simple case of the flu into a serious problem. "People who have diabetes are three times more likely to be hospitalized if they get the flu," says Helena Duffy, CDE, a nurse practitioner at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Diabetes can weaken your immune system and make it harder for your body to fight off the influenza virus, she says. The flu can affect your blood sugar levels. You're also at higher risk for pneumonia. And if you're not eating well while you're sick, you could be at risk for hypoglycemia. Get a Flu Shot for Prevention The best way to protect yourself is to get a flu shot at the beginning of every flu season. Avoid the nasal flu vaccine, which has not been extensively studied in people with diabetes (PWDs). Ask people living in your house to get a flu vaccine, too. PWDs also should get the pneumococcal vaccine to protect against pneumonia. If you have diabetes, ask your doctor about getting a second shot five to 10 years after the first. When You Have Diabetes and the Flu If you do get sick, ask your doctor about Tamiflu (oseltavimir), a prescription antiviral medication that can ease symptoms and shorten the duration of your illness. For best results, take it as soon as you notice symptoms. It's also important to pay close attention to your blood glucose levels. "Check your blood glucose every two to four hours, and record your readings," Duffy says. "If your blood sugar remains high or gets too low, call your doctor." Duffy says people with type 1 diabetes who feel ill and have a blood glucose reading over 250 mg/dl should test for ketones in the urine. Left untreated, excessive ketones can result in ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition that occurs when fat is burned for energy instead of glucose. If you have the flu, do Continue reading >>
Flu And Diabetes
Tweet People with diabetes are generally at a greater risk if they catch flu (influenza) as it can pose significant difficulties with diabetes management. Flu is a viral infection which is easily caught through inhaling small droplets released when someone with the flu virus nearby coughs or sneezes. A dangerous complication of the flu is pneumonia and people with diabetes are more at risk of developing this complication than people without diabetes. Flu, and other viral infections, can lead to higher blood sugar levels and increase the risk of serious short term complications risk, particularly short term complications such as ketoacidosis and Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State (HHS). Read more on getting vacinated against the flu. What are the symptoms of flu? Symptoms of flu may occur rapidly and include: Severe aching and pain in joints Aching muscles Aching around the eyes Fever Warm, flushed skin Headache Dry cough Sore throat and discharge from the nose Complications of the flu Influenza can lead to chest infections which may develop into pneumonia. Rarer complications include tonsilitis, meningitis and encephalitis. The flu can be a killer and is responsible for around 600 deaths a year. During an epidemic, flu can kill thousands of people in a year. Diabetes and flu medication Some over-the-counter flu medication is suitable for people with diabetes. Some over-the-counter flu medication will be more suitable for people with diabetes than others. For instance, some flu medications contain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, which are not usually recommended for people with diabetes because they may slightly increase the risk of heart problems and stroke. A number of flu medications may contain a relatively high level of sugar which could pre Continue reading >>
Why Diabetes Can Sometimes Look Like The Flu
Today is World Diabetes Day, turning the spotlight on this silent killer of almost 5 million people worldwide each year. In the U.S. alone, 25.8 million people suffer from diabetes, including 7 million people who don’t even know they have it. And the number is growing, with two million adults newly diagnosed every year. Today is World Diabetes Day, turning the spotlight on this silent killer of almost 5 million people worldwide each year. In the U.S. alone, 25.8 million people suffer from diabetes, including 7 million people who don’t even know they have it. And the number is growing, with two million adults newly diagnosed every year. While the most common complications of diabetes, such as heart attack and stroke, can be years in the making, other severe complications can come on suddenly and may even be mistaken for something as commonplace as the flu. In this video, Deborah, a 57-year-old who didn't know she had type 2 diabetes, talks about how she was diagnosed with the disease. At first she went to her doctor for a sore throat, but was so sick she eventually went to the hospital. In fact, her blood sugar had soared to 10 times what it should have been, and she began t to slip into a diabetic coma. She woke up in the intensive care unit. Fortunately, Deborah recovered to tell her story, but not all people are so lucky. Uncontrolled high blood sugar can cause both diabetic ketoacidosis and diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome, both of which can lead to a diabetic coma, which can be fatal. “This state is a life-threatening emergency,” said Spyros Mezitis, MD, PhD, an endocrinology consultant and clinical investigator at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome is more often seen in type 2 diabetics, which is by far the most common form o Continue reading >>
Diabetes Health Type 1 Diabetes: Diabetes Self Management In Flu Season
The crowd in the small Boston theater laughed and clapped. The comedy show was a good one, and I was enjoying it from a cramped seat in the balcony. It was October 29, a Friday, and while it was brisk outside, winter hadn’t yet clamped down. But the date was more important than I thought. The viruses that attack during the winter flu season had already begun to circulate, and some of them were in that very theater. During the show, dozens of people coughed and sneezed. And at some point during my two hours in the theater, I breathed in a tiny bit of evil. You might call it a germ. But for me it was the beginning of more than two weeks of coughing, sore throat, visits to the doctor, and challenging diabetic control–all from one evening’s light entertainment. Prevent, if possible The ordeal was partly my fault. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most important thing an individual can do to protect against the flu is get a flu shot. And as a diabetic, I’m at greater risk for developing complications from the flu. (I’m type 1, but type 2s are also considered at risk.) Guess who wasn’t vaccinated? Sure, I wind up getting a shot every year, but it’s usually in November or December. I had an appointment scheduled for the next week, and I was expecting that my doctor, as usual, would suggest the shot. But it was too late. The other thing I failed to do, according to diabetes educator and author Constance Brown-Riggs, was prepare a sick day plan. I should have decided on the medical professionals with whom I needed to check (doctor and insulin pump coach, for example), made sure I had sick time ready at work, had food and drink at hand, and generally been ready for the vilest of viruses. “A plan prepared in advance can make getting a Continue reading >>
Planning Ahead For Sick Days
Having a bad cold or the flu can make anyone want to crawl into bed and stay there until it’s over. But when you have diabetes, hiding under the covers and sleeping until you feel better isn’t the best option (although getting plenty of rest is still a good idea). That’s because any illness or infection can make your blood glucose more difficult to control, which increases the risk of serious acute complications. So just when you’re feeling your worst is when it’s most important to stay vigilant about your diabetes care and to take good care of yourself to help your body heal. What happens when you’re sick Your body may know it’s sick even before you feel any symptoms, and a good clue can be an unexplained steady rise in blood glucose. Everybody has a high release of stress hormones when they’re battling or about to battle an illness. Typically, stress hormones cause a rise in blood glucose level because they cause the liver to release more glucose than normal into the bloodstream. People who don’t have diabetes can compensate by releasing more insulin, but people who have diabetes may produce no insulin, or their bodies may not use insulin efficiently, so blood glucose levels stay high unless something is done (such as taking insulin) to lower them. The release of stress hormones and consequent rise in blood glucose level is why people with diabetes are advised to continue taking their diabetes medicines (insulin or oral medicines) when they are sick, even if they’re vomiting. Monitoring blood glucose levels every 2–4 hours and sipping liquids every 15 minutes to stay hydrated are also important. Not taking diabetes medicines during an illness raises the risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a medical emergency characterized by high bloo Continue reading >>