The flu and diabetes

If you have diabetes, whether it's type 1 or type 2, you are at increased risk of flu complications and severe infection. Flu complications include being hospitalized, getting pneumonia, experiencing respiratory distress, or even death.

The flu can have several effects on your body if you have diabetes:

  • Severe flu infection can result because diabetes can cause your immune system to be weaker.
  • Your blood sugar levels may fluctuate. Sometimes when you are sick, you may not feel like eating, which can cause your blood sugar levels to go up and down. And being sick with the flu can increase your blood sugar levels.

People with diabetes aren't the only ones who are at high risk for flu complications and severe infection. People with asthma, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and many others with chronic medical conditions are also at risk. Are you at risk for flu complications?

There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from the flu:

  • Wash your hands properly (at least 20 seconds with soap and water) and frequently.
  • Avoid crowds, and stay home if you think you have the flu.
  • Cough and sneeze into your arm (not your hand!).
  • Eat healthy foods and get regular exercise to keep your immune system strong.
  • Get vaccinated. Your doctor may recommend you get the yearly flu vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Manage your diabetes. Take your medication, monitor your blood sugar levels, and follow the treatment plan as recommended by your health care provider.

If you do end up catching the flu, it's important to see your doctor as soon as you notice the first signs of flu symptoms. Don't wait until your symptoms worsen. People with diabetes should see their doctor as soon as possible so that they can begin treatment. Early treatment with antiviral medication can help reduce the risk of flu complications. Talk to your doctor using the Seasonal Flu Doctor Discussion Guide.

The flu and asthma

If you have asthma, it doesn't mean that you are more likely to catch the flu. However, you are at risk for flu complications and severe infection. This is because your airways are swollen and sensitive and the flu virus can cause more inflammation of the airways and lungs.

Having the flu can trigger asthma attacks and worsen asthma symptoms. Flu complications include pneumonia and other acute respiratory (breathing) problems.

People with asthma aren't the only ones who are at high risk for flu complications and severe infection. People with diabetes, heart disease, weakened immune systems, and many others with chronic medical conditions are also at risk. Are you at risk for flu complications?

There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from the flu:

  • Wash your hands properly (at least 20 seconds with soap and water) and frequently.
  • Avoid crowds, and stay home if you think you have the flu.
  • Cough and sneeze into your arm (not your hand!).
  • Eat healthy foods and get regular exercise to keep your immune system strong.
  • Get vaccinated. Your doctor may recommend you get the yearly flu vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Manage your asthma. Take your medication, avoid your triggers, and follow the asthma action plan as recommended by your health care provider.

If you do end up catching the flu, it's important to see your doctor as soon as you notice the first signs of flu symptoms. Don't wait until your symptoms worsen. People with asthma should see their doctor as soon as possible so that they can begin treatment. Early treatment with antiviral medication can help reduce the risk of flu complications. Talk to your doctor using the Seasonal Flu Doctor Discussion Guide.

The flu and heart disease

People with heart disease are at risk of developing flu complications and severe infection. Heart disease includes congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and congenital heart disease (heart defect since birth).

People with heart disease are more likely to be hospitalized and often experience worsening of their condition. For example, if you have congestive heart failure, you may find that having the flu may make your symptoms worse - you may have more difficulty breathing or you may notice swollen ankles and fatigue. Unfortunately, people with heart disease are more likely to die of the flu or flu complications than people with any other chronic medical condition.

People with heart disease aren't the only ones who are at high risk for flu complications and severe infection. People with diabetes, asthma, weakened immune systems, and many others with chronic medical conditions are also at risk. Are you at risk for flu complications?

There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from the flu:

  • Wash your hands properly (at least 20 seconds with soap and water) and frequently.
  • Avoid crowds, and stay home if you think you have the flu.
  • Cough and sneeze into your arm (not your hand!).
  • Eat healthy foods and get regular exercise to keep your immune system strong.
  • Get vaccinated. Your doctor may recommend you get the yearly flu vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Manage your heart disease. Take your medication and follow the treatment plan as recommended by your health care provider.

If you do end up catching the flu, it's important to see your doctor as soon as you notice the first signs of flu symptoms. Don't wait until your symptoms worsen. People with heart disease should see their doctor as soon as possible so that they can begin treatment. Early treatment with antiviral medication can help reduce the risk of flu complications.Talk to your doctor using the Seasonal Flu Doctor Discussion Guide.

The flu and the weakened immune system

The immune system can be weakened by medical conditions, such as cancer and HIV/AIDS, and by certain medications, such as medications for organ transplants, cancer medications, and corticosteroids.

If you have a weakened immune system, you are at risk of flu complications because your immune system is not able to fight the flu and other infections that may occur as flu complications (such as pneumonia). The immune system is your body's defence against infections. When it is weakened, it is harder to fight the flu, which also tends to last longer in people with weakened immune systems.

People with weakened immune systems aren't the only ones who are at high risk for flu complications and severe infection. People with diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and many others with chronic medical conditions are also at risk. Are you at risk for flu complications?

There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from the flu:

  • Wash your hands properly (at least 20 seconds with soap and water) and frequently.
  • Avoid crowds, and stay home if you think you have the flu.
  • Cough and sneeze into your arm (not your hand!).
  • Eat healthy foods and get regular exercise to keep your immune system strong.
  • Get vaccinated. Your doctor may recommend you get the yearly flu vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Manage your condition. Take your medication and follow the treatment plan as recommended by your health care provider.

If you do end up catching the flu, it's important to see your doctor as soon as you notice the first signs of flu symptoms. Don't wait until your symptoms worsen. People with weakened immune systems should see their doctor as soon as possible so that they can begin treatment. Early treatment with antiviral medication can help reduce the risk of flu complications. Talk to your doctor using the Seasonal Flu Doctor Discussion Guide.