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Front Page » October 6, 2009 » Carbon County News » Diabetics should watch out for the flu
Published 2,194 days ago

Diabetics should watch out for the flu

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As cold and flu season rapidly approaches, it is extremely important for people with diabetes to take care of themselves. Not only does being sick increase blood glucose levels, but it also typically prohibits proper nutrition and eating habits. Additionally, diabetes can make the immune system more susceptible to severe cases of the flu.

In anticipation of a severe flu outbreak this season, Marc Wolf, registered pharmacist and CEO of Diabetic Care Services, provides the following tips for people with diabetes to properly care for themselves throughout the cold and flu season.

Wash hands frequently. Carry and use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not readily available.

Diabetics should continue to take diabetes medications (pills or insulin) even if they are unable to eat. Contact a physician or pharmacist and see if he or she recommends taking additional insulin.

Test blood glucose every three to four hours. When a diabetic is sick they feel lousy regardless of blood sugar levels, making it difficult to identify blood sugar highs and lows. If the blood glucose is lower than 60 mg/dL or remains more than 300 mg/dL, call a doctor or go to the hospital.

It is safe to take over-the-counter medications. However, many liquid cold and flu medications and cough drops are high in sugar. Be sure to select a medication that is low in sugar like Diabetic Tussin, available at

Diabetics should weight themselves daily while they are ill. Losing weight without actively trying can be a sign of high blood glucose.

Drink plenty of liquids to say hydrated, but stay away from drinks with caffeine or those that are high in sugar.

Diabetics should try to eat as much as they usually do. If they are having a hard time eating or keeping down solids, they should eat soft foods like toast, yogurt or soup and drink liquids to consume the same number of carbohydrates they typically do when they are well. If it is difficult to manage soft foods and a diabetic needs glucose in their diet, try a product like Glucose RapidSpray, available at, which quickly and conveniently provides glucose in a spray (no chewing or swallowing required).

Diabetics should check their ketones. If they get too high, call a doctor as quickly as possible to help prevent serious complications.

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