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Diabetes and Colds

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What Should I Eat if I Have Diabetes and a Cold? continued...

If you have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, be sure to drink a cup of fluid each hour. You can sip the liquid instead of drinking it all at once, but you want to avoid becoming dehydrated.

If your blood sugar is too high, sip liquids such as water or sugar-free ginger ale. If you need to raise your blood sugar, sip ½ cup apple juice or ½ cup ginger ale. Always check what you eat or drink against your regular diabetes diet to make sure these foods and liquids are allowed in your situation.

What Cold Medications Can I Take With Diabetes?

People with diabetes can take some over-the-counter cold medications. But be sure to avoid products that are high in sugar. Liquid cold medicines often contain added sugar. Read the ingredients label to determine if the product contains sugar. If in doubt, talk to your doctor.

People with diabetes should avoid traditional sugary cough drops, cough syrup, and liquid cold medicines. Look for words "sugar-free" when purchasing such products.

If you have high blood pressure, avoid any cold medicine that contains decongestants, which can raise blood pressure even more. According to the American Heart Association, decongestants should not be used by the 100 million Americans with high blood pressure. 

How Can I Prevent Colds if I Have Diabetes?

Whether you have diabetes or not, always use good hygiene to decrease respiratory infections such as colds or the flu. Prevent the spread of colds by making sure you and your family members wash your hands regularly. There is no vaccine against the cold, but talk to your doctor about receiving a flu shot every year to avoid catching a flu virus, which can add stress to your body and make it difficult to self-manage your blood sugar levels.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on July 16, 2014
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