Flu Season – Get Immunised!

    Published: 06 Apr 2016

    Influenza and people living with Diabetes

    Kia Ora, Talofa lava, Malo e leilei, kia orana, Ni sa bula vinaka,

    People living with diabetes, even when well-managed, are at high risk of serious flu complications, often resulting in hospitalisation and sometimes death.  Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications.

    The flu can also make chronic health problems, like diabetes, worse. This is because diabetes can make the immune system less able to fight infections. In addition, illness can make it harder to control our blood sugars.  The illness might raise your blood sugar but sometimes people don’t feel like eating when they are sick, and this can cause blood sugar levels to fall.

    If you have diabetes, you are three times more likely to be hospitalised from the flu and its complications than other people.  The flu may also interfere with your blood glucose levels.

    But there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

    People with diabetes should talk with their health care provider now to discuss preventing and treating the flu.  People infected with the flu can pass it on to others a day or two before any symptoms appear.  That’s why it is important to make sure the people around you get a flu shot as well.

    • Be sure to continue taking your regular medication and/or insulin.  Don’t stop taking them even if you can’t eat.  Your health care provider may even advise you to take more insulin during sickness.
    • Test your blood glucose every four hours, and keep track of the results.
    • Drink extra (calorie-free) liquids, and try to eat as you normally would. If you can’t, try to have soft foods and liquids containing the equivalent amount of carbohydrates that you usually consume.

    Steve Crew
    Chief Executive
    Diabetes New Zealand

    Health Minister’s Press Release