Welcome to the beginning of fall as the colors of the leaf change, so do the colors of our immune responses. Flushed orange faces, green sticky mucus that causes the cough and the yellow variations of our nasal drip that want us to hide our faces behind the warm cup of hot tea. The flu season has begun. Being you are a diabetic having the flu added to the mixture of complications is certainly no less than a poisonous concoction. Dehydration, weakened immune system and serious complications such as Pneumonia; place diabetics at a higher risk from such ailments. It all sounds scary and poses a serious threat to your health.
So a friendly note from a pharmacist at the corner of happy and healthy for this upcoming flu season is that, prevention is the Best medicine. As also recommended by CDC, anyone over the age of 6 months must get a flu shot. The nasal spray vaccine is not recommended for diabetics due to increased chances of a reaction. Since diabetics are at a higher risk of pneumonia, a pneumococcal vaccine is also suggested. A person can be contagious from one day before the symptoms appear and up to 5 days after becoming sick. Remember, it takes two weeks for the vaccine to develop antibodies to protect against influenza virus. Therefore, beside vaccination everyday precautions are a must.
Yearly, a trivalent vaccine is made with strains of influenza A and B, which are most likely to circulate in the U.S. during the winter. Because the vaccine consists of egg-grown viruses, it should not be administered to individuals known to have severe allergy to chicken eggs. A flu shot contains only noninfectious viruses and cannot cause influenza or other respiratory disease. The most common side effect experienced from vaccination is mild soreness at the vaccination site.
Now if you were to get infected by influenza virus, please ensure to report your symptoms within 48 hours to your physician. There is an antiviral medication available for treatment which is most effective if given within the first 48 hours. In addition to that, you must continue to drink lots of fluids, take your insulin daily as you stick to your regular meal plan, monitor your glucose every four hours and log it. Also weigh yourself daily to track any excessive weight loss (indicates high blood sugar) and lastly check for ketones if blood glucose is above 250. Of course, if your complications worsen you must report to the nearest health care provider.
Lastly, support JDRF by reporting to your nearest Walgreens for your influenza vaccination as Walgreens donates a dollar towards every flu shot administered through October 31st.