Cold Season

Sharing germs with the one you love.

RachelBy Rachel Baumgartel

Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!


January 2008 — It isn't often that I hear my husband complain about cold symptoms. Greg once explained that he has enough to worry about with diabetes, so everyday illnesses seem much smaller in the big picture. When he looked and sounded miserable with cold symptoms in early December, I knew he must be feeling miserable – and that I better watch out before I caught the nasty cold.

See, I am a whiner when I become feverish, congested, and achy. Always have been, always will be. I always worry about it turning into full-blown influenza or pneumonia or even a sinus infection, as I have been struck with those in the past (before my type 2 diabetes diagnosis). I monitor every symptom to make sure I'm not too feverish, not too congested in the chest, and that the sinus headache doesn't last too long.

I want to be pampered like my mom used to do, with the cinnamon toast and juice on demand when I have a cold, even though I know neither of those items is particularly good for me anymore. I start thinking about my hydration options and get angry. What else is there to drink other than juice when one has a cold and has diabetes? Water? That gets boring. Then I start feeling guilty because I know that Greg didn't have many options past age eleven when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

It also bothers me that I have to quit exercising for a few days when I have a slight fever, congestion, and sore throat. I see the numbers on the meter popping out at me in the low 200's and think about all the harm those numbers may be causing my body for the long term. Oh, yes, I have tried to work out on the worst days of nasty colds, but I know no good comes of that because I just end up feeling worse. Knowing when to return to regular workouts is always difficult and I often lose motivation for longer than I'd like.

What happens when a whiner meets a stoic? I usually end up pampering Greg the same way I want to be treated when I'm not feeling well, and usually that is because I've been sick already. I'll make dinner every night; I'll run back and forth between the kitchen and his recliner with water or beef jerky or whatever his little heart desires. But I also want to know if his blood sugar readings are getting out of control, which makes me seem a little like the diabetes police at times. I know he could just go hide in the bedroom or in his basement office, but for whatever reason, he doesn't do that. It makes me think he enjoys the attention!

This time around, we're not sure whether Greg shared his germs with me or not. I developed the nasty cold nearly three weeks after he got sick. For all I know, I caught it during my annual appointment at the germ-infested ophthalmologist's office I visited the week before I got sick. Greg certainly stepped up to provide the attention I desire this time around. I just don't want to have to return the favor anytime soon.

Read more of Rachel's columns.

dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.


Last Modified Date: July 10, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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