November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and Sheridan Memorial Hospital wants to make sure those taking insulin are well-educated during flu season.
Patty Bell-Usher works with the Diabetes Education Program, and she explains that having diabetes and getting sick can be serious.
The stress of getting sick releases hormones to fight the disease and that causes blood glucose levels to rise and interfere with insulin. Bell-Usher says that one of the most important things to do is to try to keep eating and drinking.
Bell-Usher said its also important when sick to test urine for ketones, which can be done with a Ketostix kit at purchased at a local pharmacy. A diabetic person with the flu who takes pills or insulin and has glucose levels higher than 240 should call their doctor immediately.
Those with Type 1 diabetes should test both urine ketones and blood glucose every four hours, and those with Type 2 diabetes should test glucose at least four times a day and measure ketones if glucose is 300 or higher.
Bell-Usher said that she has had people with diabetes get sick and unsure what to do; in fact, they had two cases just last week. Anyone with questions should call their doctor.
She added that the flu is not as big a concern for those with well-controlled diabetes on minimal medication, as long as they stay hydrated.
Regardless, Bell-Usher said one of the best steps in prevention is to get a flu shot.