Photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio
The pandemic, cold and flu season and the uncertainty of the safety of doctor’s offices and emergency rooms have had a negative effect on people with chronic illnesses like diabetes. With good medical care and a working relationship between a patient and his doctor, diabetes is a manageable disease. But, since COVID’s arrival people with diabetes are at a much higher risk of developing serious complications if they get sick with the flu or other infections and illnesses.
According to the American Diabetes Association, it recommends that diabetics see their doctor for a routine medical examination every six months. They further state that a diabetic can live a longer and happier life if they see their doctor and address all complications as they come up. It is untreated or improperly managed diabetic issues that become severe and sometimes deadly.
However, visits to clinics and hospitals may expose them to harmful bacteria and viruses. Elevated glucose levels enfeeble a diabetic’s immune system; hence, he is immunocompromised. Bacteria and infections are more likely to grow and develop rapidly due to viscous and reduced blood flow to the organs and periphery.
Acute illnesses such as the flu make glucose levels hard to control and treat. Getting a yearly flu vaccine is highly recommended for people with diabetes. Studies have shown it reduced the number of hospitalizations among diabetic people with the flu. One option is a workplace flu vaccination. Employees with diabetes don’t need to be miss work or checkups when a vaccination service team comes to them.
Management of diabetes
To properly manage diabetes you have to understand what it is and what your responsibilities are.
What is diabetes?
The Center For Disease Control (CDC) defines diabetes as follows:
“Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.
Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.
If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.”
There is no cure for diabetes and your doctor cannot give you medication that you can take and not have to think about your illness again.
When it comes to diabetes, you are your primary health care provider. Your doctor gives you medication and instructions. He guides you. But so much of diabetes is preventative and prolonging situations before they become a problem that the only one who can do it is you. Your doctor is your co-captain, but you are still the responsible party.
Tools & Learning
There are some tools you simply must have to maintain your health. These are not tools you can do without. They are necessities. They include a quality blood glucose monitor, a lancing pen, test strips, and alcohol wipes. You will also need a blood sugar logbook or online software that can keep up with your numbers and share them with your doctor.
Ascensia Diabetes Care is the maker of the entire Contour meter and supplies line. But, they were leaders in the diabetics field long before that. They have been working in this field for more than 70 years to make life easier and to maintain the health of people with this deadly disease. If you have extra supplies, you can even sell diabetic test strips to recoup some of your money.
Getting the flu
If you have ever gotten the flu, you know how absolutely sick it makes you. It is not like getting a bad cold. When you get the flu, you are very sick. Diabetes weakens the immune system, making it less able to fight infections; additionally, illness causes more blood sugar fluctuations. Together, we get a dangerous duo that can result in serious health risks. Every year tens of thousands of people die from the flu.
Benefits of Flu Vaccination
Flu vaccines have been proven safe and effective. Having diabetes increases your susceptibility to many illnesses. Getting a flu shot can prevent you from getting ill with the flu. In cases where you acquire it, the symptoms are milder and will resolve shortly.
When diabetic people get flu, it could lead to serious complications. Flu shots can effectively prevent hospitalizations and death. Moreover, older people and high-risk individuals with chronic illnesses can be protected from contagious flu through vaccination.
When Is the Flu Season
Flu can happen all year round and is usually common during fall and winter. The flu season varies year to year, but cases arise between December and February, extending to May. The temperature drop plays a key role in the spread of the flu. It creates an ideal condition for viruses to thrive and multiply due. The cold also prevents our noses from clearing the mucus.
How to protect yourself from the flu
If you haven’t already gotten your flu shot, be sure you get one, as it takes time to build immunity. Flu season continues through May, after all. It’s still not too late to get vaccinated.
The following precautions can also protect you from the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and objects.
Methods that help prevent the spread of COVID-19, like wearing a mask when you’re around people who aren’t in your household and practicing social distancing, can also help you prevent a cold, flu, and other respiratory illnesses.
The flu and diabetes are both serious illnesses with no cures. It is always better to prevent getting sick (or sicker) if you can. Using the tips in this article will help you, but it is important that you use good, common, sense. If you feel like you are getting sick, check your blood-sugar every 4-hours. Drink lots of water, and get plenty of rest. With careful monitoring, you should be able to avoid getting sick. If you do get sick contact your doctor immediately.