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Diabetes and the Flu

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What Can I Eat With Diabetes and the Flu?

With flu, you may feel really crummy and not hungry or thirsty at all. Still, with diabetes you must eat something regularly to self-manage your blood sugar and your diabetes.

Ideally, select foods from your regular meal plan. Eat food with about 15 grams of carbs every hour or so when ill. Some examples include a slice of toast, 3/4 cup of frozen yogurt, or 1 cup of soup.

How Do I Avoid Dehydration With the Flu and Diabetes?

Some people who have diabetes suffer from nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea with the flu. That's why it's important to sip liquids to avoid becoming dehydrated with flu.

With flu and diabetes, aim for one cup of fluid every hour. The American Diabetes Association recommends drinking sugar-free drinks -- tea, water, sugar-free ginger ale -- if your blood sugar is running high.

If your blood sugar is low, you may sip liquids that have about 15 grams of carbs in them -- 1/4 cup grape juice, or 1 cup of a sports drink, for example.

How Can I Prevent Getting the Flu With Diabetes?

If you have diabetes, you're at higher risk for complications with flu. It's vital to get a flu shot or nasal vaccine annually. While flu vaccines do not provide 100% protection against flu, they will make it more difficult to catch flu. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes get a flu vaccine in September. 

Ask your family members, co-workers, and close friends to get a flu vaccine. Findings show that you're less likely to get flu if those around you don't have the flu.

In addition to getting a flu vaccine, keep your hands clean. Serious, frequent, and thorough hand-washing is necessary to slough off germs from your hands so you don't introduce them to your body via your mouth, nose, or eyes.

For in-depth information, see WebMD's Flu Prevention Strategies.

What Else Should I Do to Stay Well With Diabetes?

If you haven't gotten a pneumonia shot yet, talk to your doctor. According to the ADA, only one out of every three people with diabetes ever gets a pneumonia shot. Yet people with diabetes are about three times more likely to die from flu and pneumonia.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on May 27, 2013
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