Diabetes and your unwanted cold!

It’s bad enough having that horrible post-holiday cold without feeling overwhelmed in the pharmacy aisle staring at the numerous choices. As if choosing a product was not hard enough, adding your diabetes into the picture can just make things feel inconvenient.

diabetes, medicine, health, featuredBut fear not! We’ve got some tips and tricks to help you push through the confusion.

First and foremost, don’t be afraid to ask your local friendly pharmacist. Pharmacists are medication experts, so who better to confide in than the experts? Don’t be intimidated by the counter, although you may have to wait a moment, the pharmacist is happy to assist you and recommend products for your cough, cold or flu symptoms.

When we get sick, the added stress on our bodies causes us to release hormones that naturally raise blood sugar. Therefore, it is important to continue to keep track of your blood sugar using a monitor. This is also why it is important to be sure the medications you choose do not increase blood sugar levels even more. Pharmacists recommend to AVOID PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN:

  • Certain cough syrups, powders, and liquids (Robitussin, Mucinex, Emergen-C, Dayquil)

    • These products can include added sugars for flavoring which can increase your blood sugar

  • Pseudoephedrine ( Sudafed PE, Mucinex D)

    • Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant common in cold formulations that can also cause the body to increase blood sugar levels and blood pressure

  • Multi-drug Combinations

    • It can be tempting to grab medications with multiple drug combinations when you are unsure of what product to get. But the unnecessary use of added drugs is unhelpful, more costly and sometimes even harmful. Instead, try to pick out a medication targeted to your symptoms

When searching through the aisles, try looking for those keywords on the label such as SUGAR-FREE or ALCOHOL-FREE as in the following examples:

  • Cold-Eeze, Sugar-free cold remedy lozenges

  • Sugar-free cough drops

  • Diabetic Tussin DM Cough Suppressant & Expectorant Liquid

  • Nasal sprays can be a safer choice because they do not increase blood sugars

Other methods that could help you overcome or prevent a cold that does not involve medication include humidifiers, Vicks VapoRub, saline nasal sprays, neti pots, vitamin c and zinc supplementation, warm compresses and receiving your annual flu shot.

Medications can seem like a quick fix for your symptoms but the most important thing to remember is to give your body the necessary tools it needs to fight the illness. It is important to drink plenty of fluids and get the necessary rest to restore your body back to health.

Written by: Marian Khalil, Melissa Girgis, FAMU College of Pharmacy, PharmD Candidates

Dr. Charlie Colquitt, Associate Professor FAMU College of Pharmacy, Tampa Division

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