Flu preparation and prevention
Stock "sick food." Throughout flu season, keep a supply of foods and beverages that can help regulate your blood glucose and are easy on the stomach.
- Broth and sugar-free liquids (water, diet pop, diet gelatin, un-sweetened tea) replace body fluids lost during illness.
- Small amounts of liquids with sugar (regular pop, regular gelatin, juices, sports drinks) can supply your body with fuel for healing.
- Sugar-free liquids with carbohydrates like cooked cereal, rice, saltine or graham crackers, yogurt or sherbet, can help when you feel like eating again.
Keep clean to keep yourself and others from getting sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don't have a tissue available, cough into your sleeve or upper arm instead of your hand.
- Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing, blowing your nose, and using the bathroom. You should also wash your hands before eating.
Flu season and diabetes
Did you know that people with diabetes are three times more likely to die from flu complications than those without diabetes? Such facts seem extra worrisome during influenza seasons like this one.
The 2012-2013 flu season began early and continues strong across most of the United States. In Minnesota alone, influenza has sent 2,367 persons to the hospital and caused 112 deaths (as of the fourth week of January).
Get a flu shot
The best way to survive bad flu seasons like this one is to get an annual flu shot. People with diabetes should get the shot, not the nasal spray vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The American Diabetes Association recommends flu shots for anyone who lives with someone who has diabetes. It's a good way for the whole household to avoid a bad case of the flu.
If you get sick
A flu shot isn't 100 percent protection against influenza. If you get sick, be sure to do the following:
- Take your diabetes medicine. Never stop without advice from your doctor, nurse or diabetes educator.
- Have someone with you or have someone regularly check in on you.
- Test your blood glucose every four hours during the day and at least once at night.
When to call your doctor
Call your doctor as soon as you get the flu. Prescription medicines like Tamiflu (oseltamivir) works best within two days of getting sick. The medicine may not only make you feel better, it can help prevent health complications.
You also should contact your health care provider about any of these symptoms:
Dialog home page
Do you have a cold or the flu?
Influenza and flu shots
Sick days and diabetes
Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Basic Skills for Living with Diabetes; American Diabetes Association, Flu and Pneumonia Shots; Minnesota Department of Health; United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
First published: 10/01/2009
Last updated: 01/29/2013
Reviewed by: Mary Frederick, RN, MS, CDE, diabetes program manager, Allina Health Diabetes Education; Dawn McCarter, RN, BSN, CDE, diabetes program coordinator, Allina Health Diabetes Education