Are Diabetics more prone to viruses and flu's?

By pixsidust Latest Reply 2011-07-27 13:48:01 -0500
Started 2011-03-26 00:38:19 -0500

I was sick and went to a Walgreen's Take Care Clinic in January. They were generous to prescribe a level of medicine that got me well in the past.
This time I had a less secure NP who wanted to follow her chart in terms of meds. I took 10 days of medicine at a weak low dose after being diagnosed with a sinus, respiratory and a double middle ear infections. I could not get well completely. I ran a fever for 5 weeks solid. That when I went back to my Doctor who tested me and found me Diabetic. She gave me stronger antibiotics, coupled with prednisone and medicine to relax the cough reflex in my lungs. I too this for seven days, started to get better for a week and went right back to being ill again. This time I got antibiotics to put in my ears. I got well after another week. Well I am sick again, fever, flushed face, ears aches everything. Why am I so weak? Are Diabetics more prone to viruses and the flu?

38 replies

Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards 2011-07-27 13:48:01 -0500 Report

I know, you can't believe I will be providing a serious answer, but I will try. I have found since the D, I do not get sick as often. sounds strange, but I contribute it to taking better care and more precautions. I do maintenance work and I am forever washing my hands. I presume that whoever used the plunger last or the toilet auger, did not disinfect it when they were through. I presume the housekeeper did not disinfect the commode handle, the door latch, the soap dispenser button, or anything else. We have 1 housekeeper that I have complete faith in her determination to have stuff clean and disinfected. With that said, I find that once I get the flu or a virus, it takes much longer to get rid of it and it seems to grab hold of me. And, I just realized you posted this in March!

MoeGig 2011-04-02 18:12:53 -0500 Report

I don't think I'm more prone to virus and flu than any normal person because I'm a Type 1 diabetic. I work hard at trying to stay in decent control, and have been doing this since 1965. This year, however, I just felt lousy for three-four weeks in late Feb-March, but many people I know had the same affliction…cough, chest cold, and as I said, feeling lousy. During this time, my sick days required me to dramatically increase my Humalog insulin to try to keep my BS down below 350. But, once the virus disappeared, I was able to eliminate the big doses immediately. Who knows for sure.

MELCHALK 2011-04-02 20:12:42 -0500 Report

I seem to have lots of sinus infections,if the doctor puts me on an antibiotic without taking a culture of my sinus to see what germ I have,then the infection last longer,or doesn't clear up at all.My advice,because of my experiences is to have a culture done,if you are having chronic sinus or ear infections.

1cookie :)
1cookie :) 2011-04-03 20:22:36 -0500 Report

You definatlly what to be sure you need antibiotics before just taking them. That's the worst thing to do. Things get resistant if you take them needlessly or incorrectly. Some people are prone to yeast problems when they take them also. You may be trdeing on problem for another.

catwalker 2011-04-02 16:14:35 -0500 Report

Yes when I get sick or get cuts or brusies I know that it takes longer to heal than normal people do. I use to get over a cold or heal from cut in a week or less but now it takes sometimes two weeks or less.

donna62M 2011-04-02 10:38:24 -0500 Report

when I get sick, I find that if it isn't hit hard at the start, I'm sicke rfor longer. I do know that diabetics are more prone to infection because of the extra sugar in our systems…At the moment I am struggling with UTI"S, most of the time I have no symptoms anymore…and that my iron levels bottom out after a bad infection…(doesanyone deal with that as well)other than that, I always get my flu shot, stay away from large crowds,and see the doc as soon as i start to feel sick…that seems to help me.

sisson 2011-04-02 01:06:57 -0500 Report

I don't know about others but for myself if I don't get the flu shot I am down for weeks. So I kinda of think so we are all diffrent. We do have to be more careful when it come to cuts and blisters insects bites fever blesters and any kind of pimples because they can turn into something eless.

MewElla 2011-03-27 17:33:32 -0500 Report

My Dr put me on Vitamin D3 last year and since that time I have not had colds, viruses or the flu. I can tell that my immune system is much stronger since I started on the vitamin D3..I take 1 pill..2000mg per day. Also, in the stores, I always wipe down the handles on the shopping carts..This little pill has really made a huge difference for me.

MoeGig 2011-04-02 17:59:54 -0500 Report

I've been taking same D3 pill to combat cancer. (It's been shown that a high percentage of people with cancer have low levels of Vitamin D). It's an easy blood test. My doctor said most of her patients have low D levels. Mine came out at 60 which is midrange normal. Who knows if it works, but an once of prevention—-my mother died from cancer.

pixsidust 2011-03-27 18:47:59 -0500 Report

Thanks MaryAnn. That probably better than the 50,000mg of Vitamin D I take once a week. Good idea on the handles

1cookie :)
1cookie :) 2011-04-03 20:27:53 -0500 Report

Spread out your dose of vit d3 and please check it should be, well I take 2000iu/day—- mg is way to much I think check your bottle to be sure..You can't aborbe all that . you just pee it away.

echowit 2011-03-27 13:29:58 -0500 Report

I pretty much have heard and agree with all below. My "mentor" (some RN specialty at my GP, I don't remember the exact acronym) told me to be as cautious as possible as regards cuts, bruises,exposure to germs, etc… No more barefootin', avoid crowds during cold season, and wear protective gear in the workshop and garden. Her concern was extended healing time which would, of course, weaken resistance and lead to greater vulnerability to additional problems.

Hope this finds you getting better soon.

pixsidust 2011-03-27 15:20:59 -0500 Report

Anything we can do to strengthen our resistance?

echowit 2011-03-27 22:36:39 -0500 Report

Obviously get and stay as healthy as possible, especially get our numbers into a stable state in the normal range. That's all!! LOL Seriously, good BG readings seem to be the best defense for us with D.
As to resistance, I personally try to eat a "normal" diet, in moderation of course, and avoid going off on tangents chasing this symtom or that. IMHO, flu season and times of stressed health, injuries, colds, etc.. are not the time to experiment with the latest internet rumor. Most of which are unfounded, untested and unreliable anyway.

I do have one "folky" thing — herb teas. The effect is probably more psych than phys but I do believe we contribute to our own cures.

Without mentioning brand names I will reference "Breath Easy" and "Tension Tamer".

Brand info at small if you want.

Again, get well soon,

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-03-26 20:57:38 -0500 Report

Hope you are feeling better today.
My Drs. all said the diabetes could slow down healing and recovery time from everything from colds, cuts, flu, infection, surgery, etc. But the better your BG is the less effect having diabetes should be.

pixsidust 2011-03-26 21:03:26 -0500 Report

my sinuses and ears coupled with a fever have the issues. Thanks for your kind words

northerngal 2011-04-03 12:21:53 -0500 Report

Because of fluctuating bs, we are more susceptible to infections. I'd be sure that you really have a sinus infection though. Many MD's don't treat with antibiotics. I found a saline inhaler works well to clear it and haven't used antibiotics for years. Overuse actually strengthens the germs. Ear infections, fever, don't mess with. That will raise the bs which will make the infection worse. Good luck. Hope you feel better soon.

pixsidust 2011-04-03 19:29:33 -0500 Report

I had to get antibiotics. Sinus infections that are bacterial need an antibiotic. My ears were in huge pain from the bacterial ocean in them.
My lungs were shot as well as running a fever. I use a netti pot with salt water any other time. I so appreciate you taking the time to write

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-04-03 14:49:26 -0500 Report

I agree about watching out for the overuse of antibiotics. Last year somewhere somehow MRSA found me. I don't want to have to fight a stronger strain of that puppy. I t was almost tougher than me and a team of Drs.

Bunny Cakes
Bunny Cakes 2011-03-26 19:36:13 -0500 Report

Yes, diabetics are basically considered to have compromised immune systems but that means different things for each diabetic and it depends on how controlled you are. The better your control the less illness will affect you, in most cases.

For me, even with good numbers I get sick at the drop of a hat, I've take to wearing a medical mask when I got in to the doctor's office and I'm a borderline germaphobe at the stores, I wipe down the carts with anti-bacterial wipes before touching anything and carry hand gel at all times. But If my numbers are good I'm not sick for very long unless I get some thing really icky like the flu.

You may be different.

pixsidust 2011-03-26 20:42:52 -0500 Report

I have been on the diet since February 17. The first week my numbers were high then my medicine was doubled and they came all the way down.
So that probably part of it

Pynetree 2011-03-26 11:09:18 -0500 Report

I do think we diabetics have weaker immune systems. And once we get sick, we are much slower to heal. That's why I think it is important to suppliment a healthy diet, with vitamins and minerals.
Hope you feel better soon.

pixsidust 2011-03-26 11:21:19 -0500 Report

Thanks I have been taking a vitamin pack for diabetics but not enough of others like vitamin C . Learning to take my medicine or anything is new to me

northerngal 2011-04-03 12:29:41 -0500 Report

Most multivitamins are a waste of money. They're excreted in your urine. Only take what you are deficient of. I take calcium + D, because I had Graves for so long that it depleted the calcium stores. A lot of the vitamins can actually cause problems if you over do it. A good Dr. is the best source because they can do a blood draw and tell you what you need. Very heavy menstruation will often show low iron, but usually your system replenishes it in a few days. I take iron for a day or two only. Lots to learn and mostly by trial and error (lots of errors), but I've had everything verified by an endocrinologist so this isn't just guesses. Hope this helps.

Pynetree 2011-03-26 11:41:30 -0500 Report

I too have been taking one of those multi-packs of vitamins and minerals, for diabetics. Blood work last week showed I was still a bit anemic, and significantly low in Vit D. I take Metformin at breakfast and dinner …pretty good about Rx's. It's a learning game…and it's on-going…have to stay diligent.

vgarrison 2011-03-26 10:55:15 -0500 Report

From what I understand Diabetics are not more suseptible (I know I didn't spell that, but once we are sick our bodies are a lot slower to fight the illness off…just like with a diabetic it takes longer for cuts and things to heal, the same for illnesses..our bodies just take longer for things…

Sorry you are experiencing all this awful illnesses…

pixsidust 2011-03-26 10:59:00 -0500 Report

Thanks, I want so much to be stronger and do what right where all the years of doing whats wrong was part of day in and day out. Three months of being sick two weeks each month is hard

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