How Do Cold And Flu Meds Affect Diabetes?

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There comes a time of the year when the common cold and flu become a common plague. But for those who are suffering from diabetes, running to the pharmacy for over-the-counter medications may require some extra precautions.

How Do Cold And Flu Meds Affect Diabetes? Precautions Needed To Cure!

During cold and flu seasons, it is confusing enough to know exactly which cold and flu medications to take. When you are diabetic, you may have to be extra careful because some of the medications have the ability to raise your blood sugar to an exponential level.

How Do Cold And Flu Meds Affect Diabetes

Effects of flu and cold on diabetes :

Diabetes is a severe condition where the body produces very little insulin, and it gets chronic over time. Insulin helps regulate the blood sugar level in our body. When blood sugar levels are too high or too low for an extended period, the eyes, kidneys, and nerves can be damaged. Uncontrolled diabetes may eventually lead to coma, heart attack, or stroke.

When you are sick with diabetes, it is a bit of a balancing act in order to make sure that the sugar level stays stable in your bloodstream. Diseases like cold and flu can raise your blood sugar by triggering a stress-like response. On top of that, if you get dehydrated, your blood sugar level can only go upward. A lot of patients do not feel the same appetite compared to a normal person. In these cases, you do need to keep taking your diabetes medications at a regular interval.

Cold and flu meds vs. diabetes :

  • Medications that are de-congestant, i.e. the ones that are widely used to relieve you of the symptoms like stuffed or clogged nose, typically contain one or two active ingredients such as phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine. These ingredients trigger an adrenaline-like fight or flight response that raises your cortisol level. This can eventually raise your blood sugar. Using some sort of saline nasal spray instead can help you relieve the congestion without raising your blood sugar level.
  • When the syrups that are usually prescribed during common flu or cold contain a high amount of fructose or alcohol, they have a bad rep in raising your blood sugar. When choosing a syrup, you should always look for the ones that are sugar-free or contain a very low amount of alcohol. 
  • There was an idea in the past that Tylenol affects the result of a blood sugar analyzing machine, but that impact turned out to be pretty small. According to some new research, you are going to get a fairly accurate reading even when you are on a medication like Tylenol.
  • Some usual symptoms of the common cold and flu are aches and pain in several parts of your body. Medications like ibuprofen can rapidly decrease the body temperature, in response to which the body starts to produce more glucose in order to feed the cells with extra calories. Acetaminophen will help with aches and pain without raising the blood sugar. A standard dosage of acetaminophen can also decrease the body temperature relatively slowly, compared to its more potent counterparts.
  • Dehydration from fever can also raise your blood sugar. On top of that, antihistamines are going to dry you out even further and raise your blood sugar level if you are not careful enough. 

Conclusion :

There is a very delicate balance that you must maintain if you wish to control your blood sugar level. Diabetics have a compromised immune system. Wash your hands often and be sure of it that you get plenty of rest to keep yourself healthy and boost your immune system so that you can prevent any further spike in blood sugar level more effortlessly.

About Tim Mathew

Tim Mathew is an Endocrinologist specialized in general endocrinology, diabetes, and lipid metabolism. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in a science-related discipline and completed a medical school program in New York. Once Tim Mathew quoted that Endocrinology is both a challenging and rewarding medical specialty, so he wants to specialize in it. To know more about Tim Mathew kindly go through our about page.

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