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I've finally caught a cold. People all around me are sick and silly me thought I could keep the germs at bay.

I knew better.

Until it's gone, I'll use my favorite effervescent cold and flu medicine, and the vitamin C my loving mom gave me. I'll be just fine -- once it runs its course.

Many people mistakenly think they can take an antibiotic for a cold, but no antibiotic known to man will cure a cold. Antibiotics fight bacteria-related illnesses. Colds are caused by viruses, so bacteria-killers won't do any good. Actually, they can do more harm than good.

It's hard enough to have the common cold or flu, but for those with diabetes, getting sick brings a whole other level of concern.

Dr. Peter Goulden, an assistant professor in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine and the director of the diabetes program, says that people with diabetes have a higher risk of flu-related complications. We're talking about things like bronchitis, and sinus or ear infections.

Diabetics of both types carry an increased risk of pneumococcal pneumonia as a complication. He recommends staying up to date on your pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination.

According to Goulden, we need to be aware that the flu can make it harder to control blood glucose levels. The infection in our bodies can raise blood sugar, so regular testing is key. Try every four hours and keep track of the results.

Make sure to continue taking your diabetes medication, even if you can't eat. Your health care provider might even advise taking more insulin during sickness. Always check with your provider.

Drink extra calorie-free liquids but try to eat as normally as possible. If you just can't eat normally, try soft foods and liquids containing the equivalent amount of carbohydrates that you usually consume.

If you notice you are losing weight "without trying," it might be a good idea to weigh yourself daily. Losing weight without trying is a sign of high blood glucose.

Check your temperature every morning and evening. A fever can be a sign of an infection.

Within 48 hours of onset, you can ask your doctor about anti-flu medicine. There are three FDA-approved antiviral drugs recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They work by keeping flu viruses from making more viruses in your body. But the doctor will need to write a prescription.

When I have a cold I often don't feel bad, but I want the symptoms, like a runny nose, coughing, congestion, headache and sore throat, to be treated. There is no vaccine to protect us from the common cold.

Goulden says symptomatic relief is what's needed. That includes fluids, rest and anti-fever medicine like acetaminophen.

In order to protect ourselves and others, the CDC website (CDC.gov) says we should wash hands often with soap and water, avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and stay away from sick people.

Well, that's easier said than done.

To prevent spreading our cold to other people, we should stay home when we're sick, avoid close contact with people like hugging, kissing or shaking hands, and move away from people before coughing or sneezing.

Cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away, or cough into your upper shirt sleeve if you have to, completely covering your mouth and nose.

Gone are the days of the gross old handkerchiefs continually brought out and stuffed back into a man's back pocket. My grandpa did that.

Always wash your hands after you cough, sneeze or blow your nose.

And lastly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.

See a doctor if you have a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees or other symptoms for more than 10 days, or have unusual symptoms.

I'd hate to think what those would be.

Commiserate with me at:

rboggs@arkansasonline.com

ActiveStyle on 01/16/2017

Print Headline: Diabetes complicates treatment for cold, flu

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