The Flu Ends With You!

February 05, 2018
 

Here we are, at the peak of flu season!  Don’t celebrate just yet because we still have to get through mid-Spring to consider ourselves safe as we walk through the doors of crowded stores (the most germ-filled of all encounters) picking up foods and other necessities.  Your healthcare team should have discussed the importance of getting your annual flu shot as part of your treatment plan to prevent complications associated with diabetes. If you got it this year, great!  If not, please call your primary doctor and schedule an appointment.   I’m sure many of you have questions about the effectiveness of the flu shot. In a nut shell, it’s not going to provide you with 100 percent protection but will definitely lessen the severity of the illness and reduce the chances of secondary infections such as pneumonia.  

My questions to you: Did you know that flu symptoms, such as fatigue, can make it difficult to perceive whether your blood sugars are high or low? Have you heard that some medicines, antibiotics, and steroids used to treat illness can raise blood sugar levels? And did you know that when you’re too sick to eat, your blood sugar can still go up? Your answers should have been yes to all of these.

Know that blood sugars can go high during times of illness; regardless of whether you’re eating. It’s a part of your body’s flight or fight response to get ready for battle (to fight off the virus that is trying to invade your body). For some, high blood sugar is often the first sign you are getting sick or getting an infection. Since diabetes compromises your body’s immune system, your ability to fight viral infections is less effective and puts you at greater risk of developing complications mentioned earlier, including diabetic ketoacidosis.

Yes, washing your hands is the best way to ensure you are not the cause of getting sick. But what about the Typhoid Mary who just coughed or sneezed without covering their mouth while standing in line at the store? You see, when someone coughs or sneezes, you see droplets, or feel them when someone sneezes on you. But what you don’t see is a gaseous cloud full of potentially infectious bacteria that travels farther than those sneeze droplets. You may not know it now, but you and others are officially exposed to bacteria that can take a few days to manifest causing the fever, chills, cough, fatigue, runny nose, congestion, body aches, headaches, etc.   

The best thing to do is get your flu shot every year as soon as it becomes available in September. Encourage household members to get it, too (herd immunity, everyone). Know the signs and symptoms of influenza and notify your doctor right away to discuss the best treatment plan to get you well as soon as possible. Remember, your blood sugars fluctuate during illness so frequent monitoring and continuing your medication plan become pivotal during these times.

To learn more about signs and symptoms of influenza and sick day guidelines,  visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/acip/clinical.htm and https://www.cdc.gov/flu/diabetes/index.htm.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment.



 

Tags: diabetes, Estee, Manio

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