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Diabetics and the flu

Everyone should take steps to avoid contracting or spreading the flu. But certain people should be extra careful during flu season.

People with diabetes, pregnant women, people with asthma, and older adults can be more susceptible to getting the flu or developing serious complications from the flu. People in these four groups are less likely to develop a mild illness from the flu and are more likely to suffer from serious consequences such as bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus and ear infections, hospitalizations, and more.

In this post, we’ll focus on how the flu affects people who have diabetes. Is this you or someone you love? Keep reading to learn about extra precautions you can take this flu season.

Diabetes and the flu

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetics are three times more likely to be hospitalized from the flu or complications of the flu. This is because diabetes can make the immune system less able to fight infections making them more susceptible to complications like pneumonia and bronchitis.

In addition, the flu can make it harder to control your blood sugars. Having the flu might raise blood sugar but may lower your appetite. This can cause blood sugar levels to fall. If you have diabetes and get the flu, pay extra attention to your blood sugar levels — and call a doctor if needed.

Luckily, flu shots are approved for use and are safe for people with diabetes. Make sure you get your flu shot this season to keep yourself and others safe!

In addition to getting the flu shot, you can also help prevent the spread of the flu by:

  • Staying home when you are sick, except to get to the doctor, and stay away from other people who are sick if you can.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder — not your bare hands.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home and work, especially when someone is ill.

If you have diabetes and experience flulike symptoms, call your doctor right away. Your doctor can tell you if any extra treatment is recommended.