As if we didn’t have enough to worry about already, February is traditionally the peak of flu season. Not only can a flu (or cold) make you miserable, some popular medications for symptom relief can raise blood sugar levels.
Fortunately, consumers who have prediabetes or diabetes have options for safer over-the-counter medications, according to Jerry and Krysten Rodgers, R.Ph. The Rodgers, both registered pharmacists, have more than 20 years of experience helping people who have cold and flu symptoms.
”The cold and flu aisle can be difficult to navigate,” Jerry Rodgers explained. “When you factor the effect some medications can have on blood sugar, it can be overwhelming to some.”
How to Choose Cold and Flu Meds
(Note: the following medications also can be used in the home treatment of Covid-19 symptoms.)
The Rodgers offer these tips:
At a pharmacy, the quickest way to find a medication that won’t affect blood sugar is to talk to the pharmacist on duty. If there is no pharmacist available, check a medication’s label for the words, “corn syrup,” “alcohol” and/or “glucose,” and look for other options.
Avoid the following drugs:
The following cold and flu medications can cause blood sugar to rise:
Sudafed – (it contains pseudoephedrine, a chemical that causes blood vessels to constrict. While this helps a stuffy nose, it also causes other blood vessels to constrict, which raises both blood sugar and blood pressure.
Sudafed PE – this contains phenylephrine, which can raise blood sugar because it works (in theory) like pseudoephedrine, although it’s not as effective.
NyQuil – it contains 20 grams of carbohydrates in each dose, about the same as eating a slice of bread.
Cough syrups and regular cough drops – usually contain high fructose corn syrup or other types of sugar.
Cold and Flu Meds That Don’t Raise Blood Sugar
Mucinex – to relieve a productive cough
Mucinex DM – to relieve a dry cough
Sugar free candies– will help keep the throat moist and help with a cough
Vicks Vapor Rub – eases congestion and stuffy nose
Flonase – stuffy nose
Also, a warm mist humidifier can be helpful in treating cold and flu symptoms.
Thanks to the Rodgers for providing this info!
Note: Jerry and Kristen Rogers have no ties with pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the drugs listed in this article.