flu Archives - Active Healthcare

Dealing with the Flu in Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes Leave a comment   , , ,

Even when you and your family are doing all the right things to avoid illness you can still be unlucky and catch whatever is ‘going around.’ This time of year that means the flu. The 2019 – 2020 flu season has been quite severe with an estimated 31 million people sickened by the virus. More than 14,000 people have died, including almost 100 children.

Monitor Blood Glucose (BG) Levels

The body’s natural reaction to infection will effect blood glucose levels and control. When your child is sick, their routines are disrupted including their eating schedule and appetite which can further impact BG levels. Flu symptoms such as high fevers and sore throats can lead to dehydration and difficulty eating and drinking. The bottom line is that it may be much harder to control BG levels.

  • Consider monitoring BG and ketones more frequently while your child is sick
  • Maintain normal medication schedules
  • Keep normal eating schedules if possible and offer alternatives
  • Stay hydrated – adequate fluid will flush excess ketones and prevent dehydration that can raise BG levels.
  • Focus on carb-free and caffeine free beverages to minimize impact on BG levels

child cold or flu

Beware of Over- the-counter Medications (OTC) for Cold and Flu Symptoms

  1. Check ingredients: Cough syrup may contain added sugar that can worsen BG control.  Look for medications in pill form or sugar free options.
  2. Educate yourself about medication side effects: Acetaminophen may cause false readings on a CGM, Ibuprofen and aspirin can lower BG levels by interfering with the insulin metabolism. Decongestants like pseudo epinephrine can raise BG levels.
  3. Ask for guidance: Check with your healthcare provider for recommendations on OTC cold and flu medications.
  4. Consider non-drug treatment options first: These include fluids, cold compresses, humidifiers, and saline sprays and rinses.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

DKA is an acute complication that can occur in T1 diabetics when their body shifts from using glucose for fuel to ketones – which are derived from fatty acids. Children with the flu may be at higher risk for this serious condition.

Know When to Call your Healthcare Provider

Just like anyone else, children with T1D may need to see their healthcare provider when flu or cold symptoms worsen.

  1. Fever over 103 degrees or a fever that lingers for days without other symptoms.
  2. High BG levels and/or ketones in your urine – based on recommendation from your healthcare provider.
  3. Inability to keep food or liquid down, severe vomiting or diarrhea, decreased urination or other signs of dehydration. Lack of interest in eating or drinking.
  4. Difficulty breathing or blue lips.

If you think your child may have the flu your healthcare provider can test for it and prescribe antiviral medication. These drugs won’t cure the flu but may reduce the severity of the illness.

Additional Resources:

Recommendations from the CDC – Flu and People with Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes Recommendations from the American Diabetes Association (ADA)
Tips for Managing Type 1 Diabetes at School

Worry about the Flu, Not the Coronavirus

Lisa Feierstein Breathe EZ Leave a comment   , ,

With the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus in China dominating the headlines how worried should we be here in the United States? Travelers and people all around the world are understandably concerned about the risk of contracting this deadly virus.

Did you know that the common cold is also a coronavirus?

Just like the common cold, this new coronavirus attacks the respiratory system causing symptoms like fever, cough and eventually pneumonia. People get sick because their immune system has never see that particular virus before and it needs time to mount a response.

Viruses mutate ALL the time – that’s why we catch colds every year.

The news reports are troubling with a rapid increase in cases and many deaths from the infection. Other human coronaviruses (HCoVs) have caused epidemics such as SARS in 2003 and more recently MERS in 2012.

The World Health Organization (WHO) monitors new disease outbreaks and works with health agencies around the globe to contain epidemics and prevent pandemics – where a new virus spreads across multiple parts of the world. The current coronavirus outbreak is still confined to China with only sporadic cases in other countries.

While countries all around the world work to contain the spread of this new coronavirus, your chances of contracting it are still quite low. Your chances of catching the flu however are much higher.

The CDC recommends that all people over age 6 months get vaccinated against the flu. So far the 2019 – 2020 flu season has been quite severe. An estimated 15 million Americans have caught the flu since the start of the flu season; more than 8,200 people have died, including over 50 children. There is still time to get the flu shot this year!


Tips to Avoid Catching ANY virus this cold and flu season

  1. Wash your hands – sing the A-B-C song or Happy Birthday. Wash with warm soapy water.
  2. Stay healthy – get adequate rest, exercise and eat healthy food. Don’t push yourself especially if you think you may be coming down with an illness.
  3. Stay home – don’t go to work or school when you are sick
  4. Clean and disinfect surfaces – those sick with the flu can spread the virus for up to 7 days after becoming sick.

Most viruses are transmitted through close personal contact and via the air through a cough or sneeze. When an infected person sneezes or coughs in your vicinity you may breathe in the virus. You might also shake their hand, and then you wipe your eyes or nose – bingo – the virus has a new home.

More Tips to Prevent Disease Transmission

  1. Adopt elbow bumps in lieu of handshakes for the duration of the cold and flu season.
  2. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or cover your mouth and/or nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  3. Use disposable gloves when handling items touched by anyone potentially infected.

Additional Resources

About Human Coronaviruses
World Health Organization – What is a Coronovirus?
World Health Organization – Novel coronavirus (2019-nCov)
Hidden Spots for Germs: Home, Office and Doctor’s Office

Five Flu Myths Debunked Just in Time for Flu Season

Lisa Feierstein Breathe EZ, Children's Health, Men's Health, Women's Health 1 , ,

January is the height of flu season, and if you haven’t been vaccinated, it’s not too late to do so.

Influenza or “the flu,” as it more commonly known. This respiratory virus that can be fatal and causes severe symptoms including high fever, shaking chills, headache, body aches, cough, and tiredness.  If you haven’t ever contracted it, consider yourself lucky.

Here are five flu myths you might have heard about the flu that we will clear up for you.

Myth: You can catch the flu from the vaccine

Fact:  This is false

The vaccine contains a dead virus and cannot transmit infection. If you get sick around the time you got it, you were probably already going to get sick from exposure to the virus by an infected person.  In addition, it takes about two weeks for your body to build up the antibodies needed to fight the flu.

Myth: Vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms of Influenza.

Fact:  Influenza is strictly a respiratory illness.

Stomach flu or gastroenteritis is a completely different and separate virus. With stomach flu, you would experience vomiting and/or diarrhea in addition to stomach pain.

Myth:The vaccine is the only ammunition you need to fight the flu.

Fact:  In addition to the vaccine, you should wash your hands frequently, cough into your elbow, and drink lots of fluids.

Also, as with any illness, you will want to disinfect your surfaces such as phones, doorknobs, light switches, and remotes, as the germs can stay alive for up to 72 hours.

Myth: Young, healthy individuals cannot catch the flu.

Fact: Young and healthy individuals can catch the flu.

This group has a greater ability to fight complications of the flu, but it can still have an impact.  The 2014 flu season was particularly hard on this group of individuals.  Then, 61% of those hospitalized with influenza-like illnesses were adults aged 18-64.  In addition to reducing complications brought on by the flu, patients who are vaccinated also reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus.

Myth: The flu vaccine causes Bell’s palsy.

Fact: No evidence has been found to support this.

One study from the Institute of Medicine reports that vaccines cause very few health problems.  “The findings should be reassuring to parents that few health problems are clearly connected to immunizations, and these effects occur relatively rarely.  The flu vaccine does not aggravate asthma, and the flu vaccine doesn’t cause Bell’s palsy,” explains Ellen Wright Clayton, MD, JD, director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University.

Everyone, male or female, young or old, healthy or sick, will benefit from receiving a flu vaccine.  Get yours today!

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