Fight the Flu! How to get through your flu with diabetes

Flu season 🤧

It’s officially winter! Which means we are right smack dab in the middle of flu season. The flu is bad for anyone. But it’s especially serious for people with diabetes. And this year, the CDC is reporting a “moderately severe” infection rate.

What’s the big deal? 

If we don’t take care of ourselves while sick, we could easily end up at the hospital in serious DKA-mode. Diabetes weakens the immune system, making it less able to fight infections; additionally, illness causes more blood sugar fluctuations. Together, we get a dangerous duo that can result in health risks that could potentially lead to high mortality rates. Instead, protect yourself with our easy-to-follow tips below.

1. Check yourself.

Before you wreck yourself. Seriously. Stay on top of blood sugars. Check your BGs more than you usually do. The flu can cause major fluctuations in blood glucose. Now’s the time to really take advantage of that One Drop | Premium subscription – take your blood sugar every hour, at least! It’ll greatly limit potential hypos/hypers.

2. Drink Up.

Cheers! To all the water and Pedialyte 🙌  Now is the time for the ultimate chugging contest. Well, maybe not actually. But in reality, your body is losing liquids when it’s fighting the flu. If you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea, you’re at much greater risk for dehydration. If you are having difficulty keeping liquids down, no worries – sip on clear liquids (water, tea, Pedialyte, broth) at regular intervals (seriously, no need to chug).

  • PRO-TIP: Make sure you’re checking BGs before sipping. If your blood sugar is running high, sip liquids like water or sugar-free ginger ale. If it’s running low, sip on orange juice or regular ginger ale.

3. Diabetes meds are our friends.

Myth: when you get sick, you should stop taking your daily medications.
Fact: stress hormones kick into high gear when you’re sick, meaning you might actually need more meds than usual. Start out by staying true to your medication regimen. As you keep checking your blood sugars, tweak your diabetes meds (insulin, metformin) as needed according to your doctor’s suggestions. This could mean taking less, or increasing your usual dose. It all depends on your specific situation.

4. So are flu meds.

Just because we have diabetes doesn’t mean we should shy away from taking over-the-counter flu/cold treatments. While there are many sugar-filled syrups out there that have potential to raise blood sugar, there are pill-form alternatives, as well as sugar-free alternatives. As always, keep a vigilant eye on blood sugars after taking these new medications, as they can alter blood sugar. But more often than not, they will get you back on track faster.

5. Catch your Zzz’s. Lots of them.

Sleep in! In fact, sleep as much as you want. The more sleep and rest you give yourself, the better and faster your body can rejuvenate and fight off the flu.

6. Have a survival kit at-the-ready. 💼

This might be something you’d be better off doing in advance of your flu-catching. Either way, a survival kit is super handy when you’re in need of at-home remedies. Be sure to pack:

  • Thermometer
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
  • Cold compresses
  • Tissues
  • Throat lozenges
  • Orange juice
  • Teas
  • Neti Pot
  • Vapor Rub
  • Glucose tablets

If you don’t have your survival kit pre-packed, feel free to ask a family member, friend or neighbor to help you get one set up. They won’t mind 😉

As always, reach out to your doctor when needed and keep your One Drop | Expert updated.Alert your HCP if your blood sugars consistently run at 250mg/dL or higher, and if you’re experiencing extreme symptoms like trouble breathing or running large ketones.

💡 The CDC recommends that people at high risk for complications (that’s us!) should get antiviral treatment as early as possible (the benefit is greatest when treatment is started within 2 days after illness onset).

Not to mention, you still have time to get a flu shot. 💉 Even though we’re midway through, we still have about 4 months left in the season. Protect yourself: getting the flu shot can mean lessening the severity of the flu if you do actually get it.

Otherwise, put on your cozy suit, find a binge-worthy show & bundle up in bed. You’ve got this!

Rob Howe’s Over-The-Counter T1D Challenge

Wait, who’s Rob? 

If you haven’t heard of Rob Howe, you’ve been missing out. His weekly podcast series, Diabetics Doing Things, is a testament to all things diabadass. Rob interviews people living with type one diabetes all around the globe, highlighting the amazingly astounding things they’re doing, while also living with diabetes. He’s covered over 1,000 years of living with T1D on his DDT podcast, and it’s just a side-gig of his! Now, Rob’s taking on another side-gig: his very own Over-The-Counter T1D Challenge.

Challenge Accepted

In other words, Rob is going all-in for a mini-documentary series where he’s going 100% on over-the-counter diabetes meds. As all of us living with diabetes know, diabetes medications and supplies are expensive. Unaffordably expensive, insurance or not. Rob felt, though, that while there’s plenty of documentation out there about living life with diabetes on insurance, there’s little to none regarding life without it, much less managing diabetes solely on over-the-counter supplies. So he’s changing that. Bring on #OverTheCounterT1DChallenge.

Back to Basics

For the next 30 days, Rob Howe will be using only R (short-acting)and NPH (intermediate-acting) insulins (along with syringes) for any and all insulin dosing, as these insulins are available without a prescription or insurance. Usually hooked up to his Medtronic Paradigm 24/7, Rob is cutting the cord ✂️

He’ll also be checking his blood sugar with his One Drop | Chrome meter and test strips, which are also available without prescription or insurance. He’ll also have the ability to check in with his One Drop | Expert on his One Drop app in case he needs any info or feedback for his new regimen.

End game 

The result? We’ll see! But it’s a pretty radical attempt to treat diabetes for an out-of-pocket cost less than $150 US per month. And we can all follow along every single day! Keep an eye on Rob’s Instagram Stories and his Diabetics Doing Things YouTube channel for all the real-time updates.

We are (un)pumped to see what he finds 😆

One Drop Store

What Would You Do for a Lower A1C?

A1C: Why is it important?

We took a good, hard look at A1C with our official One Drop Guide, but now it’s time to dig a little deeper. Most people we talk to, ourselves included, are always striving for a lower number. Why? Because a lower A1C suggests that our current diabetes management plan is right on track. And we know that with better overall management comes better outcomes for us down the road.

How do we get there?

There are lots of ways to lower that glycated hemoglobin test result (if we’re being technical), and we’ve tested just about all of them 🙂 It’s up to us and our healthcare providers to determine which tactics work best at any given time; as our diabetes changes over time, so should our plans for tackling A1C. With that in mind, these are just a few methods we’ve found extremely helpful in reaching those lab test goals:






Additionally, we’ve seen incredible results by way of our mobile app: in our most recent study, people with both type one & type two diabetes were able to reduce A1C by 1.1% by using One Drop | Mobile. And if that’s not enough, how’s this user’s report of a 7.2% to 5.9% reduction rate? We’d  say pretty diabadass.

We also asked you, our One Drop Community, what you would be willing to do for a lower A1C. Check out our poll results for more ideas on how to lower your next test results!

Do you have any tips or tricks you’ve found to help you reach that gold-star number? 🌟 We’d love to hear from you (herehere or here)!

 

One Drop Guide to Carbohydrates!

Are carbohydrates the enemy? Before you stop eating carbs altogether, learn how they can fit into diabetes management.  Use our One Drop Guide to Carbohydrates to learn how our bodies process carbs, how they impact blood sugar levels, and what carbs are best to eat. Bon appétit!

One Drop Guide to Carbohydrates

One Drop Guide to Carbohydrates

 

For some amazing low carb recipes, check out our other posts:

40+ Mouth-Watering, Finger-Licking Low-Carb Foods

No Carbs, No Problem: Sushi, Sandwiches and More!

PRO-TIP: How to use the new Notifications Inbox

Missed a notification? No problem!

Our new notification inbox stores them all for you. See your meds and glucose check reminders, motivational messages, and more. Just tap on the bell icon at the bottom of the home screen to see your notifications. *This feature is currently available on iOS devices only. 
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Here’s how to enable notifications from One Drop

Go to Settings in the One Drop app. You can find Settings by tapping on the gear in the upper right corner of the home screen. In Settings, tap Notifications & Permissions.

  • Customize your notifications using the toggles next to the options listed.

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If you haven’t ever enabled notifications before, tap Edit Notification Settings . You’ll be led to your phone Settings from here. Tap notifications. Then select the notifications you would like to receive by using the toggle next to each.

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When Healthcare Hurts

When Healthcare Hurts

Most of us have been there at one time or another- face to face with a medical professional who we think might actually be bad for our health. But what if that person is our regular diabetes provider?

How can healthcare hurt?

As a Certified Diabetes Educator at One Drop, I have the extraordinary privilege of getting a unique, daily, and very personal journeys of people with diabetes. As you might expect, these journeys regularly include encounters with healthcare team members. While so many of these visits were positive and productive, there have been some heartbreaking and even nerve-wracking accounts of healthcare gone wrong. They range from inaccurate and unsafe clinical advice and assumptions, to poor “bedside manner” — providers who don’t listen, respect, partner, or personalize. Whether small or large, these medical missteps negatively affect the diabetes management of those at the center, the individuals who live day to day with this disease.

Unfortunately, options can be limited. The number of healthcare professionals who specialize in diabetes management is significantly smaller than the number of people who live with diabetes. This is especially true in rural areas and for certain specialty areas like pediatrics. As a result, countless people with diabetes feel stuck in a dead-end relationship with a problematic healthcare team.

However, there are things you can do.

Tips for getting the most out of your healthcare team:

Assess your relationship. Does your provider listen to what you have to say? Do they provide adequate information, resources, and options? Can you contact your provider with questions or concerns in between visits? How do you feel when you leave your provider’s office?

Get up to date. Knowledge is power! Learning as much as you can about managing your condition gives you a leg up both in and out of the doctor’s office. Enroll in Experts | On Track or ask your One Drop Expert for information and resources about diabetes management.

Advocate. Ask for what you need to be successful. Unsure of what a particular lab result means? Ask for clarification. Want to sit down with a Certified Diabetes Educator for an in-depth review? Ask for a referral. You are the expert in your own life, so advocate for the things you need to live healthily. Make sure you have someone else to advocate for you in case you are unable as well.

Prep for your visit. Office visits can be short and quick, but spending some time preparing for a visit can help you get the most out of it. Start by familiarizing yourself with your most recent data and blood sugar trends before you go in using One Drop reports and in-app analysis. Make a list of things you want to ask or discuss to bring to your visit so you can leave with answers to all of your questions. You may want to prioritize your list too, in case you’re running short on time. Bring something to take notes with, especially if you don’t receive any kind of “summary” print out from your provider’s office.

Touch base. No one should have to wait around 3 months with high or low blood sugars until the next doctor’s appointment- it’s not healthy or safe. Make sure your diabetes team is available to answer questions and make dose adjustments in between visits. Ask for contact information, including a phone number, email address, and/or fax number- and you may have to persist. While in your visit, ask your doctor some “What If” questions, especially if you have trouble getting in touch between visits. For example, “What if my blood sugars are still above 200 a week or two from now- should I increase my dose again by the same amount?” Your doctor may give you a Plan A, but if possible, get a Plan B too!

Consider a switch. If there is no improvement despite your best efforts, it may be time for a change. There are several ways to find a different provider- sometimes there are other providers within the same clinic, or at a satellite clinic. There may be a different practice in town too, or maybe even several. Call or check out your insurance company’s website for a list of available in network options. Ask local diabetes support groups for suggestions. Consider other types of providers if necessary, including Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants.

Connect with others. When it comes to diabetes, there is power in numbers. Lean on the diabetes community for general information, peer support, tips, and reviews.

And when your medical team does do a great job, be sure to let them know and say thanks!

Remember: healthcare should help, not hurt. If you feel like you’re in an unhealthy relationship with your healthcare team, take action!

Managing Your Diabetes During Ramadan

Ramadan has just begun, marking a period of fasting and religious focus for millions of Muslims around the world. For those participating, remember to talk to your healthcare provider about your diabetes and make sure that fasting is a safe option for you. You might need to modify your exercise, diet and medication routines to keep your blood sugars in range during this time of year.

Top 3 Things to Watch Out for During Ramadan

1. Low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) – The risk of blood glucose levels going too low is greatest in people taking insulin or certain diabetes pills. Limit physical activity during fasting hours and be more active after sunset. Talk with your healthcare provider to find out if your medicine puts you at risk for low blood glucose and discuss how to prevent it.

SYMPTOMS INCLUDE: shakiness, heart racing, sweats/chills, intense hunger, numbness/tingling, drowsiness, blurry vision, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, confusion, anxiety, nausea, and headache

2. High blood glucose (hyperglycemia) – While low blood glucose levels may happen during the day, after the fast is broken, there is a greater risk to overeat. Watch out for eating too many sweets and keep the portion sizes moderate. Even though Ramadan is known as a time of fasting, it is not uncommon for people to gain weight during this month, as in some families, every evening meal is a celebration.

SYMPTOMS INCLUDE: Dry mouth, increased thirst, hunger, fatigue (weak, tired feeling), nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, fruity-smelling breath, blurry vision, headache, dizziness

3. Dehydration – This is especially a problem during the longer and hotter summer days. Aim to drink lots of water and sugar-free and caffeine-free drinks frequently throughout the evening and before dawn.

SYMPTOMS INCLUDE: Dry mouth, increased thirst, fatigue (weak, tired feeling), very yellow urine, dry skin, headache, dizziness

 

Follow the above recommendations and enjoy the celebrations! As long as you remain mindful and take the appropriate precautions, you can enjoy a very happy and healthy Ramadan.

One Drop Caicos: How to Build a Training Plan

One Drop Caicos Training Diaries

We are a few weeks out from the One Drop Caicos adventure, and preparations are well under way. These diabadasses have been training since January! As part of our One Drop Caicos series, team captain Erin Spineto shows us all the prep involved for their mega-trek across the Caicos Islands. 

As we prepare for the One Drop Caicos Adventure in June 2017, we are doing a ton of training. These training diaries are stories from the field and things I have learned from my time in training.

For each new expedition I go on, I am tasked with developing a training plan that will get me into shape so that I can complete the trip safely. No one wants to show up for a trip underprepared.

Caicos - Training Schedule

I have posted a portion of my training plan here and here with an explanation below in hopes that it may impart some wisdom when you have to build a training plan of your own.

Although each trip is different, there are some principles that apply to any training plan.

WHO IS TRAINING?

You should always pick a training plan that fits you.

I have learned through plenty of trial and error, with my thyroid issues, asthma, work schedule and taxi driver schedule (I have two very active kids), that my body cannot handle a seven- or even a six-day a week training schedule. I will go into over-training very quickly and will miss more weeks recovering than if I just worked out less. So I usually shoot for 3 days a week with one VERY quality, long workout each Sunday.

My husband, on the other hand, needs a seven- to ten-a-week training schedule, with his first workout of the day being a 5 a.m. swim. His body won’t reach its peak unless he pushes this hard. So you need to assess your body, your mental training style and your current life-stress load (work, school, dating, other responsibilities) and pick a plan that is reasonable. You should choose a plan that will allow you to complete 90-95% of the workouts.

THE PRE-SEASON OR BASE TRAINING PHASE

The Pre-season is set up to take me from where I am now to the base level of training that starts six months before an expedition. The most important thing to do in the pre-season is to get your body used to each sport and to learn the PROPER TECHNIQUE for each sport. Now is the time to get out that YouTube app and watch TONS of form videos. Then try to do the drills at least once a week. There is no faster way to get an injury than having bad form.

For this trip that means that by the end of the Base Period on Jan 1, I should be able to paddle for 90 minutes, bike for at least 15 miles, swim 1700 meters straight, and hike for at least 6 miles with a 25-pound backpack on.

I have more experience with long distance paddling, and I know that is usually where I end up with the most overuse injuries, so I won’t be doing many paddle workouts until January.

I spend more time walk/running than the other discipline because it is my weakness and because I can do it at home on the treadmill even after it’s dark outside, without having to worry about someone watching the kids. It is always good to work on your weaknesses in the Base Phase of training. And it never hurts to develop a plan that you know will fit into your lifestyle.

If you’re wondering why I always do 42 minutes of walk/running, it’s because that’s how long a full-length episode is of the horribly cheesy show I watch while on my treadmill.

SIX MONTHS PRIOR TO TRIP

One of the most important parts of a training plan for a long-distance endurance event is the long run, or long paddle, swim, or hike. For the Jan to June Training Plan I have listed the long workouts for each week. These are mandatory workouts. I usually try to do them on a Sunday since I have more time then and make sure that I never wuss out on one of these.

These workouts should be done slow. At a speed where you feel like you could go on forever. You want to find the pace where your body can clear and get rid of the lactic acid your muscles produce during exercise faster than it is produced. At this speed, you won’t end up with any lactic acid buildup, which means you can go for much longer. This is the “you could talk in full paragraphs or almost sing” pace.

HOW TO FILL THE REST OF THE WEEK

For the rest of the week, once again, try to find out how many workouts your body and life can handle. Ultimately, it would be best to do each sport at least once a week. The other workouts during the week will be shorter, more in the 40-120 minutes range and focus on form or some speed.

Swimming will present an interesting challenge for this trip. On day three, we will be traversing nine islands. So we will hike the length of each island and then swim between islands, contending with the currents and pulling our waterproof backpacks behind us.

Around week 12, I will start to practice with my setup to pull my bag behind me. The dry backpacks will contain all of our gear and be floated behind us with a sort of strap that attaches to a waist belt.

Starting at week 14,  I will get used to riding a cruiser with some weight on it, either in a basket on the front or in a backpack. It will change how I balance and will usually work my arms a little more, so I will have to get used to it.

I will also spend some time around week 12 getting used to a SUP with 30-40 lbs of gear on the front. I will probably start to play with the actual gear I will bring on the trip. Gear tends to move around and there are hacks you can work on to make sure it stays balanced and tied down well.  A lot of that knowledge comes from just playing with different configurations and seeing how it works with your stuff.

I will also try to spend some time in a place with waves or chop. Balancing on a board with chop is a skill best learned at home before the trip and can only be learned by spending a lot of time in the chop.

I will find some super windy days and get used to paddling into the wind, with the wind, and at a 90-degree angle to the wind. These all feel very different. The wind will be at around 12-15 mph each afternoon on our trip. Most of the time it will be at our backs, but it can come in from the side or ahead of us too.

PERIODIZATION

Every fifth week, fourth for the first month, will be a rest week. This is the week that you back off on workouts, cutting both intensity and time, so that your body has a chance to recover. This is the most important week of all five. It is the time when the last four weeks of work pay off.

TAPER

The last two weeks before I go will be taper weeks. This means the overall distance of my workouts and frequency will reduce, but not the quality. The first week should be at 75% of the total distance and frequency. The second week should be at 50%.

WHEN IN DOUBT…

If you haven’t done a few pre-built training plans, it is always a good idea to start there, especially for common distances like a 5k or a half-marathon. Use those until you get a good idea of what you are capable and what works for you. Then you can start to use your knowledge to build plan for yourself.

When you get into more rare sports or distances, it always pays off to ask people who are more experienced than you. They have gathered much wisdom that can be critical to your success.

PRO-TIP: Become a Food Logging Master

Track your food with just a few taps! We’ve made it easier to search, save, and log your meals.

The latest version of One Drop | Mobile makes food logging a breeze! You can now categorize meals by meal type (breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack), easily search the food library, add foods/recipes from your Saved Foods, and sort all your saved foods/recipes. Read on for more details!


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How to Sort Saved Foods

In the food logging screen, tap on “Saved Foods.” Your Saved Foods can be sorted by recently logged meals, name of food (alphabetic order) or meal group.

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How to Log a Meal the Fast Way

We have also made it easier to select and log meals in the food library. Search and add items to a meal, then choose to “Log Now” to log right away or “Add & Continue” to continue adding more foods.

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How to Save Favorite Foods

To add a meal to “My Foods” from the food library, enter all components of the meal and then select “Add & Continue”. Then enter the name of the meal below the dial and save.

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And that’s it! Now you’re a food logging pro. Still have questions? Drop us a comment below and we’ll get back to you ASAP.