When flu season hits, it can affect anyone, but those living with diabetes are faced with an increased risk of flu-related problems due to an already weakened immune system. With a weaker immune system, it becomes harder for your body to fight the flu virus, which can lead to a rise in your blood glucose and prevent you from eating properly. You are also at a higher risk of flu-related complications like pneumonia.
CVS Pharmacists and health care professionals are trained to help people living with diabetes take preventative measures to avoid the flu or manage flu symptoms if they arise. By following a few simple tips, you can take every precaution to make sure you stay health this flu season.
Get the Flu Shot Every Year, as Early as You Can. It’s important to get the flu shot every year because the vaccine is updated annually to protect against the latest flu strains, and helps prevent the spread of the virus to others. The CDC recommends getting a flu shot as soon as it is available. For people over the age of 65, a high-dose vaccination is recommended in order to provide stronger protection for this age group, who are at greater risk of developing severe illness from the flu.
Ask Your Doctor About the Pneumococcal Vaccine. Because you are at an increased risk of getting pneumonia, talk to your health care provider about the pneumococcal vaccine. The pneumococcal vaccine will protect you against pneumonia.
Evade the Virus and Avoid Spreading It. Regular hand washing, sneezing into a tissue or the crook of your elbow, avoiding crowds, and keeping up a plan of healthy eating, exercise and medication are all great precautions to take to help avoid getting you or others sick.
If you experience flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. If you have the flu your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication that can make your symptoms less severe and make you feel better faster.
In addition to contacting your doctor, there are a few other recommendations that will help you get better, faster: Don’t stop taking your insulin, test your blood glucose every four hours, stay hydrated, continue to eat normally and weigh yourself every day.
Throughout the season, don’t forget to log onto the ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes website, which offers tips, an “Ask a Pharmacist” corner, recipes and more.
Papatya Tankut is vice president of pharmacy affairs at CVS/pharmacy.