Swine Flu (H1N1) and Diabetes

Swine flu is no longer a pandemic but should not be ignored
Swine flu is no longer a pandemic but should not be ignored

In late 2009 through to 2010 swine flu was declared to be a pandemic by the WHO. In August 2010, the WHO de-classified the virus as a pandemic but advised that swine flu should not be ignored.

Coupled with the media hype around swine flu and the fact that the virus is predominantly killing those with underlying illnesses, people with diabetes were understandably alarmed.

In 2010, swine flu is still present and the Health Protection Agency are urging people in higher risk groups, such as those with diabetes, book themselves in for a free flu jab.

Am I more likely to get swine flu if I have diabetes?

Diabetes and swine flu are not associated. If you have diabetes, there is no greater likelihood of you developing swine flu.

However, those people with diabetes that develop swine flu may find blood sugar levels become affected, and diabetes management and treated must be adjusted accordingly.

If you are diagnosed with swine flu and you have diabetes, your doctor or healthcare professional will provide you with guidance.

What are the symptoms of swine flu?

Swine flu (H1N1) symptoms are similar to common flu.

They include:

  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Coughs
  • Sore throat
  • Tiredness
  • Fever

If you have diabetes and fear you have swine flu, you should contact your healthcare professional immediately.

Swine flu can be dangerous for people with diabetes because it can worsen blood glucose treatment and require more active treatment.

Swine flu prevention

There are a number of prevention mechanisms people with diabetes can take to avoid swine flu. For instance, learning about the condition and the hygiene techniques is important.

If the pandemic develops, experts advise purchasing face masks and minimising contact with other people.

  • Learn more about the disease and how to prevent it
  • Cover the mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze
  • Use a tissue and quickly and carefully dispose of it afterwards
  • Wash your hands regularly using soap and water
  • Clean all hard surfaces with standard disinfectant

Swine flu treatment

If you do contract swine flu, you will likely be treated either by paracetamol, anti-viral medications such as Tamiflu, Relenza or if complications develop, by antibiotics. In the majority of cases, swine flu is not fatal.

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