Preventing Infections In Diabetes

Common infections 

If you live with diabetes, you may be at an increased risk of certain infections due to the impact of high blood sugar levels on the immune system. At Roczen, we want to ensure you can keep yourself as healthy as possible by remaining infection free. Here are some tips to help you do this:

Practise Good Hygiene: 

  • Regularly wash your hands
  • Keep up proper oral hygiene 
  • Maintain general cleanliness 


  • Stay up-to-date with vaccinations, including the yearly flu and pneumonia vaccines.

Regular reviews for diabetes

  • Regular monitoring and check-ups with your GP can help screen for common complications and catch potential issues early
  • Annual checks are also important for advising appropriate medication adjustments 

Foot Care

  • Inspect feet daily
  • Wear proper footwear
  • Seek medical attention for any concerns regarding your feet.

Last, but definitely not least…

Healthy Lifestyle

  • Adopt a healthy diet with a reduction in sugar, refined carbohydrates and ultra-processed food
  • Ensure you are breaking up sedentary activities with regular movements
  • Take part in regular physical activity and exercise
  • Get adequate sleep to support overall physical health and well-being
  • Minimise chronic stress in your life where possible

Let’s take a look more specifically at the common types of infections and what you can do to prevent these.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs):

UTIs are infections affecting the urinary system, which includes the bladder, ureters, urethra and kidneys. Symptoms include needing to pass urine more often, pain or burning during urination, smelly urine, pain at the bottom of the abdomen, blood in urine, and sometimes tiredness and fever. UTIs are more common in people living with diabetes due to higher sugar levels in the urine, which is helpful to unwanted bacteria.  Certain medications also work to lower blood sugar by increasing sugar being lost in the urine - which can increase risk of UTIs.  People living with diabetes may also experience damage to nerves controlling bladder function, which can cause difficulty emptying your bladder fully. When not all urine is passed through the urinary system fully, it can increase the risk of infection. 


  • Maintain good blood sugar control
  • Ensure good hygiene
  • Keep aware to spot any signs or symptoms of UTIs and promptly seek medical help
  • Attend your regular diabetic checks and ensure medication reviews

Skin Infections

Our skin is a protective barrier, blocking infections from entering our body. A Skin infection (cellulitis)  is an infection caused by bacteria getting into the deeper layers of your skin.  These infections can occur through breaks in the skin, like cuts, wounds, or insect bites, allowing pathogens to enter and cause an inflammatory response. Symptoms of a skin infection can include redness, swelling, pain, warmth, and the presence of pus or other discharge. In some cases, the affected area may develop a rash, blisters, or sores.


  • Keep skin clean and dry
  • Moisturise regularly
  • Inspect feet daily for any cuts or sores
  • Clean all wounds promptly after injury

Yeast Infections (such as candidiasis/thrush)

A yeast infection, also known as candidiasis, is a common fungal infection caused by an overgrowth of the fungus. While Candida naturally lives  in various parts of the body, such as the mouth, throat, and digestive tract, an imbalance can lead to an infection. The most common type of yeast infection occurs in the genital area and is known as vaginal candidiasis in women. Symptoms may include itching, burning, redness, swelling, and a white, cottage cheese-like discharge. You may experience discomfort when passing urine or during sex. You can also experience oral Candidiasis, an infection affecting the mouth and throat. Symptoms include white patches on the tongue and inside the cheeks, soreness, and difficulty swallowing. Candidiasis can also occur in other moist and warm areas of the body, such as the armpits and skin folds. It may cause redness, itching, and a rash.


  • Maintain good blood sugar control 
  • Practise good personal hygiene
  • Keep genital areas clean and dry.

Gum Infections (such as gingivitis and periodontitis)

A gum infection, also known as periodontal disease or gum disease, is a bacterial infection that affects the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It typically starts with inflammation of the gums (also known as gingivitis), and can progress deeper into the supporting structures of the teeth ( known as periodontitis). This can lead to gums shrinking, pockets forming between the teeth and gums, bone loss, and ultimately tooth loss. Symptoms may include swollen and tender gums, bleeding during brushing or flossing, persistent bad breath, receding gums, and in advanced stages, loose or shifting teeth.


  • Maintain good oral hygiene
  • Regular dental check-ups
  • Maintain good control of blood sugar levels.

Respiratory Infections (such as common colds, flu or pneumonia)

A respiratory infection is an illness that affects the respiratory system, including the nose, throat, airways, and lungs. Common types include the common cold, flu, pneumonia, and bronchitis. They can be caused by viruses or bacteria, spread through respiratory droplets, and present with symptoms like coughing, sneezing, fever, and difficulty breathing.


  • Get vaccinated against flu and pneumonia
  • Practise good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and washing your hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Use a mask in densely populated areas

December 14, 2023
Written by
Dr. Sarah Martin
Reviewed by
Dr. Laura Falvey

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