Diabetes and the Flu… and Covid-19
During the pandemic it seems every decision we make has some covid-19 considerations surrounding it. In Michigan we hear that we are hitting higher numbers of covid-19 infections just as we are entering our
traditional flu season. The concern there is that the symptoms of covid-19 mimic the symptoms of the flu. Both covid and the flu can produce fever, chills, cough, sore throat,body aches, congestion, fatigue and even the possible upset stomach and diarrhea.
So what if you have diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic disease that can make your immune system less effective. People with diabetes, even when managed well, are at an increased risk for complications with the flu. In turn, the flu can make managing your diabetes more challenging. Often when we are sick we don’t eat as well as we should. Therefore, someone with diabetes can have a harder time controlling their blood sugar. In addition to the flu making diabetes more difficult, there are some serious complications that can come from the flu. Some of these complications can include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and even ear infections. Pneumonia and bronchitis are common contributors to hospitalizations due to the flu each year.
So how can you protect yourself even more if you have diabetes? You probably guessed it; get a flu shot! The CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine each fall before the end of October. You still have time! Call your doctor to see what else they suggest to help keep you protected. They may also suggest a pneumonia vaccine, since pneumonia can be a serious complication to the flu. It is recommended to get the flu vaccine yearly since the immunity decreases over the year.
With the annual concerns of flu season, we also are dealing with covid-19. The same precautions apply; avoid people that are sick, wash your hands, cover your cough. Now we add social distancing, limiting crowds and wearing masks as an additional layer of protection. Remember, if you feel your condition is getting worse, call your doctor or go to the hospital for care.
If you have diabetes, continue to be vigilant about managing your blood sugar. Contact your doctor about adding flu and/or pneumonia vaccines to help boost your defense against these illnesses. These are great ways to reduce your risks of needing to be hospitalized due to complications.
Here’s to a healthy winter!