Diabetes affects and often weakens your immune system causing one to be more susceptible to infection. This year, I was unfortunate enough to catch a cold that the doctor has labelled “bronchitis.” I’m headed into the second week of this battle with symptoms that include a low-grade fever and coughing spasms that last longer than one can imagine. I’m on my second box of 300-sheet fluffy tissues that now feel like sandpaper against my nose that is redder than Rudolph’s. It’s not a pretty scene people. In the back of my mind I made a note to buy hand sanitizer stock because I’m using a lot of it right about now.
Besides the obvious challenge of fighting the cold, I must also keep in mind that I am diabetic. The very medicine that will fight the cold symptoms may also elevate my sugar levels. As if that isn’t enough, when faced with a cold, our bodies will attempt to fight off the infection. Unfortunately in the process, that fight may also elevate my sugar levels. Therefore, particular attention should be paid to my glucose levels. During this time, your glucose levels should be checked at least.
When I have a cold, my taste buds typically go on vacation and I have no desire to eat. However, as a diabetic, it’s important to eat something. The American Diabetes Association says “try to eat something with about 15 grams of carbohydrates every hour or so. Some foods to try:
- 3-ounce fruit juice bar
- 1/2 cup frozen yogurt
- 1/2 cup cooked cereal
If you don’t eat, your blood sugar might fall too low.
It’s also important to stay hydrated when you’re fighting a cold. If your glucose levels are high, you can sip on water or other sugar-free beverages. Having a cold is never fun. Being diabetic and having a cold adds another level to the challenge. Fortunately, colds don’t last forever. My hope is that next week this time, things will be back to normal for me. Fingers crossed.
By Lorraine Castle