Though summer has just ended, flu season will be coming soon. Older adults are often more susceptible to the flu because of weakened immune systems. Unfortunately, they can also suffer from some serious complications. For diabetics, getting the flu can be even more problematic since it can affect blood sugar. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with diabetes “three times more likely to be hospitalized from the flu and its complications than other people.”
Protecting Diabetic Seniors from the Flu
The CDC says the best way to prevent flu in diabetics is to make sure they receive an annual flu shot. While the flu shot is not a guarantee that your aging relative will not get the flu, it can make cases of the flu milder. They should also get a vaccine to prevent pneumonia.
Some other things that can help with flu prevention are:
- Staying away from people who are sick.
- Washing hands frequently.
- Keep hands away from the mouth and eyes since touching them can allow germs on the hands to enter the body.
- Disinfect surface in the home that are touched frequently, such as doorknobs, faucets, and counter tops.
Tips for Flu Management in Diabetics
If your aging relative with diabetes gets the flu, they will need additional care to ensure they keep their blood sugar within target ranges and don’t suffer from additional complications. Some tips for managing diabetes during the flu are:
- The senior should continue taking diabetes medicines as directed. Talk to the doctor about whether insulin doses should be changed during the illness.
- Test blood sugar every four hours and write down the results of each test.
- Prevent dehydration by offering even more fluids that normal. However, remember to avoid sugary drinks and excess calories.
- Monitor the senior’s body temperature. If they develop a fever, it could mean they have an infection.
- Make sure over-the-counter flu medicines do not contain excess sugars. A doctor or pharmacist can recommend diabetic-friendly medicines.
- Try to ensure the senior eats regularly. If they do not feel like eating, try offering soft foods or soups.
Home care services can both help prevent the flu and assist with diabetes management during a case of the flu. Home care services providers can drive the older adult to have their annual flu shot. They can also remind them to frequently wash their hands and assist with keeping the house clean and disinfected. When the flu strikes, a home care services provider can remind the senior to test their blood sugar more frequently and write down the results for them. Home care services providers can also prepare healthy snacks and offer extra fluids.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Upper Darby PA, please contact the caring staff at True Direct Home Health Care today.
Doc, as he is called by everyone - staff, patients and clients - first experienced home health care and hospice care while as a colleg student at King's College as he cared for his mother every day while she first battled COPD and then lung cancer. It was during this time that he came to understand that caring for a patient was more than just clinical expertise.
"Admittedly, my strongest attribute is my communication skills and the simple fact that I love to help people. Even the smallest thing you can do for someone really can mean so much to them long term. In fact, it could change them forever. That's what providing quality personal home health care should be all about."
In his spare time, he cooks for homeless shelters and children's music and arts events. He also is highly involved in his local youth sports soccer academy as a coach and Board member.
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