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How Diabetics Can Prevent Flu?

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According to a 2017 study[1], approximately 15% of the world’s population get infected with the influenza virus every year. Influenza is a common viral infection that can affect anyone right from kids and adults to elderly and falling prey to this viral infection can sideline anyone. It is reported that around 10,000 – 30,000 people die due to influenza every year[2]. Although it is typically a self-limiting infection, if you suffer from pre-existing chronic conditions such as diabetes, then you may develop severe influenza. Moreover, during the influenza epidemic, people with diabetes are 6 times more likely to get hospitalized and 3 times at risk of death[2]. 

Vaccination is one of the most important preventive measures to fight the flu. Here are a few simple tips to keep away flu in people with diabetes. 

Tips to Prevent Flu In Diabetics 

Out of the 415 million people worldwide who are diabetic approximately 85–90% of them are suffering from type 2 diabetes and around 10% with type 1 diabetes[1]. There is no clear evidence on the mechanisms by which diabetes can increase the severity of influenza. However, there is a growing evidence that high blood glucose level can increase the incidence and severity of influenza infection[2]. Hence, to lower your risk of influenza, it is important to keep your blood glucose in control. 

1. Monitor your cholesterol and blood pressure level.

It is a known fact that diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure go hand in hand. If you suffer from heart disease or hypertension, it is important to keep a close watch on the numbers as any change in these numbers can impact your blood glucose which in turn can increase your risk of flu and its severity. 

2. Keep your diet and fitness in check.

One of the best ways to stay healthy and protected from an infection is to eat healthy. A diet rich in all the essential nutrients such as antioxidants, fibre and proteins can not only help you to control your blood glucose level but also boost your immunity and keep a check on your weight. Make sure you exercise every day as it burns calories, releases happy hormones, improves your mood and makes you stronger both mentally and physically. 

3. Get a flu shot.

There is no better alternative to prevent an infection than getting vaccinated. Opt for an annual influenza vaccination as there is a high chance that the virus might be mutated over the course of the year. Hence, not getting vaccinated on a regular basis can up your risk of falling prey to the flu as the immunity conferred by the vaccine wanes off[4]. 

4. Take your medications as advised.

To control diabetes, it is important to take your medications as advised by your doctor. Do inform your doctor if you wish to change the brand or are taking any other medications (which might interfere with the anti-diabetic medications). Check with your doctor before changing the dose of a medication or stopping any medication as it can impact your glucose levels which in turn can lead to severe health complications. 

Although people with diabetes are at a slightly higher risk of suffering from influenza, keeping a close watch on the blood glucose levels is necessary. Also, it is equally important for diabetics to get a flu shot which plays a vital role to prevent the flu. Remember it is better to be safe than sorry. Ask your doctor to know more about influenza vaccination today!

References: 

1. Hulme KD, Gallo LA, Short KR. Influenza Virus and Glycemic Variability in Diabetes: A Killer Combination? Front Microbiol. 2017 May 22;8:861. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5438975/ 

2. Kesavadev J, Misra A, Das AK, et al. Suggested use of vaccines in diabetes. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Nov;16(6):886-93. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3510956/ 

3. Flu and People with Diabetes. Who is at High Risk for Flu Complications. Seasonal Influenza (Flu). The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/diabetes.htm 

4. Diabetes, Flu, and Sick Days. Living With Diabetes. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/flu-sick-days.html 

SPIN.IFLU.19.07.0130a/07.19 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent and unbiased views solely of the publisher. This is a part of the public awareness initiative on influenza supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of this article. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information. 

Updated Date: Sep 18, 2019 10:31:25 IST 

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