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Diabetes and the flu:
Be prepared.
betes Corner
by Maureen Sullivan, RN, CDE*
*(CDE-Certified Diabetic Educator)
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Flu season has arrived. The annual flu vaccine is the
best way to protect your family and yourself from flu
related illnesses. Who should get vaccinated? Some
groups encouraged to get vaccinated include:
All children aged 6 through 59 months
All persons aged 50 years
Adults and children who have chronic medical
Women who are or will be pregnant during
the influenza season
Residents of nursing homes and other long-
term care facilities
Symptoms of the flu are as follows and may occur
very quickly:
Severe aches and pains in your muscles and
Poor appetite, nausea, vomiting
Dry cough, nasal discharge/drainage, and
sore throat.
Flu-related concerns for persons with diabetes:
Hyperglycemia (high blood sugars) in part due
to stress, inflammation, possible infection, and
problems with medication adherence (hesitan-
cy to take the correct dose of diabetes medica-
tions or insulin due to poor food/fluid intake).
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugars) in part also
due to poor food and fluid intake, but low blood
sugar levels may occur with proper medications
being taken, but not followed by adequate diet
(due to weakness, poor appetite, fever, and
stomach upsets).
Sick day management guidelines
Persons with diabetes should be prepared for sick
day management, especially during the "cold and
flu season". The following recommendations ensure
a "safety net" is in place, should an unexpected sick
day occur:
Have important phone numbers and contact
information for all your health care providers in
one place. This ensures that if you became con-
fused/extremely weak, your loved ones could
call your doctor. Also have a current list of all
your medications (prescription as well as over
the counter medications). Put a copy in your
wallet/purse and give a copy to a family mem-
Stay hydrated and nourished. Always have a
supply backup at home of quick to make foods/
drinks. Some examples include bottled waters,
jello/gelatin, diet drinks, and soups.
Monitor your blood sugars (and ketones if able
to) frequently. Notify your doctor for blood sug-
ars consistently above 240mg/dl or the pres-
ence of moderate ketones in your urine. (These
guideline numbers should be discussed with
your doctor before an actual sickness occurs).
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause fur-
ther dehydration, worsening your health status.
Stay healthy this flu season!
Check out these websites for more information: