So, the only thing worse than having a cold or the flu, probably is having diabetes and a cold or flu. Even veteran diabetics mess up their health routines because they feel crappy. If you are newly diagnosed, it can be a huge challenge.

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If you don’t keep your glucose levels stable, you feel even worse. Follow these guidelines so you get up and around sooner.

Keep Taking Your Medicine

Take your medicine, even if you’re not eating your normal amounts. A cold or flu reduces your appetite, so you may not eat much at all. That could lower blood sugar levels. In contrast, your inactivity and illness could raise your blood sugar. So, keep on your regular medicine routine as you fight off the cold or flu.

What to Eat

Keep eating as normally as possible. Stay on your regular schedule best you can. Healthy choices like soups are comforting and healing. Try for about 50 grams of carbs every 3 or 4 hours.

What to Drink

Even a small amount of soup or crackers might still mean sugar spikes. That extra sugar is excreted through your urine, so be sure you keep drinking lots of fluid. Expect some thirst because increased blood sugar levels dehydrate. 8 ounces of water hourly staves off dehydration, unless it seems like you won’t keep it down. If you’re not eating, then drinking something with some carbs every couple of hours helps. Mineral containing liquids, like broth, are ideal.

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What about Cough or Cold Over-the-Counter Medicines?

Sugar-free medicines are better. Pills you swallow don’t usually have any sugar in them. A syrup may have sugar. The amount of sugar in a dose of cough syrup won’t matter.

Some medicines that don’t contain any sugar still influence blood sugar. Decongestants, aspirin, and antibiotics all affect your blood sugar levels, so be sure to ask your pharmacist or doctor.

Check Blood Sugar Frequently

The more subtle symptoms of your levels being off might be lost on you when you feel crappy already. Check your blood sugar levels every 2-4 hours for at least the first 2 days. If they seem normal, then go back to your regular checking schedule. If you see a result of 250+, change your carb intake, and check again. Call the doctor if your spike continues for 2 checks.

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You can handle having a cold or flu with diabetes. It will be over soon. While most cases are mild and passing, do call your doctor if:

  • Your blood sugar reading is over 250 twice in a row.

  • You have uncontrollable diarrhea or nausea.

  • Fluids are not staying down.

  • A fever spiked more than 24 hours.

  • There is belly pain.

  • You’re vomiting.

  • You don’t think you can take care of yourself.

Take care of yourself. A cold or flu is temporary, so do what you can to manage the symptoms. You’ll be better soon.

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