Fighting off the flu is no cakewalk even under normal circumstances. Add diabetes to the mix and you have a deadly cocktail to deal with. Living under the dark cloud of diabetes can weaken the immune system making diabetics more vulnerable to a whole bunch of communicable diseases, chief among them being influenza or the flu. The spread of influenza peaks during the winter months. A diabetic whose immune system is already floundering won’t take too long to fall prey to the flu during this season.

Here’s How You Can Spot The Flu:

⦁ High fever
⦁ Intense pain in the joints and muscles
⦁ Tiredness
⦁ Warm, reddish skin
⦁ Watery eyes
⦁ Headache
⦁ Nausea
⦁ Vomiting
⦁ Diarrhea
⦁ Dry cough
⦁ Sore throat
⦁ Running nose
For people with diabetes, the flu can be more than aches and pains. It can mean longer illness, hospitalization, even death. Influenza can turn into pneumonia, which can have fatal consequences. Diabetes can make the immune system more vulnerable to severe cases of the flu. In fact, people with diabetes are almost 3 times more likely to die with influenza (“the flu”) or pneumonia.

This World Diabetes Day, here are 4 ways in which those with diabetes can manage the flu.

1. Getting Vaccinated

Diabetics are 3 to 6 times more likely to be hospitalised during influenza epidemics. Hence flu vaccines are a top priority for those suffering from this disease. Diabetics benefit from influenza vaccination since it is the most effective way to prevent influenza. Studies reveal that, during epidemics, diabetic patients are six times at the higher risk of mortality due to flu or pneumonia, than non-diabetics. For diabetic patients, annual influenza vaccination is recommended by global and national bodies. Ministry Of Health & Family Welfare in India recommends annual vaccination for people with chronic illnesses such as Diabetes.

2. Eating Right

Food might be the last thing on your mind when you are sick. But skipping meals is not advisable especially if you are diabetic. Your blood sugar levels need to hold steady. Eat a well-balanced diet and consume at least 15 grams of carbohydrate every hour. You can have a toast or yoghurt to meet your energy needs.

3. Keeping Hydrated

Up your fluid intake if you have the flu. You might not feel the need to drink water. On top of it you might be experiencing flu-related symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting which can lead to dehydration. It is essential that you have 1 cup of water every hour. Go for soups and sugar-free tea if you have high blood sugar.

4. Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels

It is essential to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels when you are down with the flu. Take a reading every 3 to 4 hours. If there is something amiss call your doctor right away. Those with Type 1 diabetes need to monitor ketones as high ketones lead to diabetic ketoacidosis which may increase the risk of coma or death.

Ask your doctor to know more about influenza vaccination today!

Disclaimer: This is a part of the public awareness initiative on influenza supported by Sanofi Pasteur India Pvt Ltd. The information shared here is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. One should consult a registered healthcare professional for any health-related information or treatment.