Diabetes & the Flu: People with diabetes (type 1 and 2), even when well-managed, are at high risk of serious flu complications, like hospitalization and even death, as a result of getting the flu
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Diabetes & the Flu: People with diabetes (type 1 and 2), even when well-managed, are at high risk of serious flu complications, like hospitalization and even death, as a result of getting the flu

Diabetes & the Flu:

It’s flu shot season: Prepare yourself for the flu season and get your vaccine so you can avoid the flu and its complications when you have diabetes. There are also other treatments for the flu, but they aren't as effective as getting the vaccine. The flu shot is effective for about six months.

Having the flu can be dangerous for anyone. But it is extra risky for people with diabetes or other chronic health problems. People with diabetes are at high risk for serious flu complications, and the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.  Having the flu also makes it more difficult to manage diabetes. And people with diabetes are about three times more likely to die from the flu and pneumonia than the general population.

It’s important to get a flu shot when you have diabetes, so you can reduce the risk.This is because diabetes can make the immune system less able to fight infections. In addition, illness can make it harder to control your blood sugars. The illness might raise your sugar but sometimes people don’t feel like eating when they are sick, and this can cause blood sugar levels fall.  So it is important to follow sick day rules.

CDC recommends that people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, who are 6 months and older, get a flu vaccine. Should you get the flu when you have diabetes before you get the vaccine or despite it, it is recommended  that you contact your primary care provider right away.

In addition to getting vaccinated yearly, people with diabetes should take everyday precautions for protecting against the flu such as:

  • Washing  your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with your elbow, or use a tissue, when you cough or sneeze.
  • Staying at home and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them if you do get sick.

After any vaccination you may find that you experience side-effects. These happen as the body makes antibodies to the disease and are natural. They will usually settle after a few  days. If your temperature  goes up take a painkiller (e.g. paracetamol) and drink plenty of sugar-free drinks. Your glucose control may be affected and you may find you are running higher than normal. This will usually settle as your body returns to normal  
  • If your blood glucose levels remain consistently high or you experience anything other than these  mild side effects – you must inform  your doctor or healthcare professional

Contact your doctor, healthcare provider or local health department for dates, times and locations for flu vaccinations. Both flu and pneumococcal vaccination are covered by Medicare part B. Many employers are making flu vaccination available at the workplace, as well. Your doctor or other health care professional can advise you on which flu vaccine is best for you.











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