As sweaters and snow days come back into season, along with them comes winter’s common coughs and sneezes. What may start out as an innocent sniffle around the office may quickly progress to something more serious–the flu.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with diabetes are three times more likely to suffer complications from the flu than those without diabetes. The CDC says this is because any illness–whether it’s a case of the sniffles or the full-blown flu virus–can have a significant impact on your blood glucose levels. Combine this with an off-track eating schedule, and you may find it much more difficult to manage your blood sugar on a sick day.
If you find yourself down with a fever, chills, and stuffy nose this winter, there are several steps you can take that will help get you back on your feet while you continue to stay on top of your diabetes treatment.
Physicians at Flu.gov say one of the most important things you can do to manage your diabetes on a sick day is to continue taking your insulin or other prescribed medications. A nasty stomach bug may keep you from eating normally, so it’s important to talk to your health care provider about adjusting your medication doses, if you feel that a change is necessary.
As your symptoms of the flu continue to wear on, you may find yourself becoming dehydrated. The experts at WebMD recommend amping up the amount of fluids you drink when you’re feeling under the weather. While electrolyte-boosting sports drinks may seem like a healthy choice, clear zero-calorie beverages can be just as hydrating–without the added sugar. WebMD recommends sugar-free ginger ale along with several glasses of your healthiest option–water–to both soothe your stomach and keep your body hydrated enough to fight the disease.
To prevent any complications with your diabetes, the CDC recommends checking your blood sugar levels every four hours and keeping track of the results. Flu.gov says it is also important for you to weigh yourself each day’s sudden weight loss is often a sign of high blood glucose levels. If you lose more than 5 pounds and have a blood glucose reading that is lower than 60 mg/dL or higher than 240 mg/dL on two checks, the CDC recommends calling your health care provider immediately.
When it comes to avoiding the flu before it strikes, the CDC says receiving an annual flu shot is your number one line of defense in protecting yourself against the virus. According to physicians at Mayo Clinic, today’s vaccinations are up to 90 percent effective in preventing the season’s most common strain of the flu. You can find an affordable flu vaccine at some grocery stores, local pharmacies, and at your doctor’s office.
Eating foods rich in Vitamin C may also help protect your body during cold and flu season. Tropical fruits such as pineapple, oranges, and kiwi are chock-full of this disease-fighting nutrient. A hearty serving of leafy green veggies won’t hurt, either. According to Livestrong.com, one cup of spinach or kale will give your body more than 100 percent of your recommended daily dose of Vitamin C. This sweet spinach and strawberry salad is a refreshing, easy-to-make dish that can give your body the added boost of the immune-supporting vitamins it needs.
Finally, when it comes to preventing the spread of disease, it’s never too late to go back to the basics. Remember to wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap, especially before eating and after using the restroom. You can also help stop the flu by coughing or sneezing into the crook of your arm, rather than in your hands. If you do become ill, the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Not only does this prevent others from getting sick, it also gives your body some much-needed down time in order to fight off the disease.