Although we are at the beginning of March, we are still in the middle of cold and flu season! Coughs, runny noses, fevers are all signs and symptoms of a cold, that can make managing your diabetes more difficult. As a type 1 diabetic having a cold can be stressful, and can develop into a more serious illness.
Here are a few pearls that may be helpful in navigating through diabetes with a cold.
- Check Your Blood sugar often if you have a cold: Blood sugar levels tend to increase during periods of a cold, which can make managing your blood sugar harder. The stress on your body from an infection could elevate your blood sugar. Checking your blood sugar 3-4 times a day or what is recommended by your doctor while fighting a cold, ensures that blood sugars are not higher or lower than normal.
- Continue to eat and Drink: Many times when you are not feeling well, there is a tendency to eat and drink less, or even not at all. But it is very important to continue to stay nourished and hydrated. Failure to eat and drink enough, puts your blood sugar in danger of falling below your normal parameters, low fluid intake, can also put you at risk for dehydration. “The American Diabetes Association recommends: eating/drinking about 15 grams of carbohydrates every hour or so when you have a cold. If you are unable to hold down solid foods, clear soups, or ½ cup of oatmeal, juices or popsicles are all recommended to help prevent hypoglycemia and dehydration”.
- All over the counter Cold medications are not created equal: Many over the counter cold medications can be dangerous for diabetics. Over the counter cold medications such as cough syrups,or cold medications, may contain sugar, which can raise blood sugar. If you are using an OTC cold medication Always be sure to check in with your doctor first, and have your doctor recommend the types of medications that are safe to take as a diabetic.
- Don’t stop your insulin therapy: For Type 1 Diabetic, insulin therapy is essential, especially when you have a cold. Although your amounts of insulin may change, depending on how much your are eating or drinking at this time, stopping therapy completely on your own is not recommended.
- Please be sure to consult you doctor, before changing your insulin therapy or starting any new medication.
Fighting a cold as a diabetic is not always easy, but it is achievable. Just remember to call your doctor if: Your blood sugar remains elevated or falls below what is normal for you, if you develop a fever of over 101, or if you begin to experience vomiting or diarrhea.
Be sure to check in again next week for more winter pearls!