Living with diabetes blog

If you have diabetes, get a flu shot

By Sara J. Carlson, R.N., C.D.E. November 5, 2015

It's that time of year again. Peak flu season generally runs from late November to March.

Influenza can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people, especially those with other health conditions such as diabetes.

Because diabetes can make the immune system less able to fight infection, people with diabetes are at increased risk for developing serious flu complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, who are 6 months and older, get a flu vaccine.

According to the CDC, flu shots are approved for use in people with diabetes and the flu shot has a long established safety record in people with diabetes.

There is a precaution against giving the nasal spray flu vaccine to people with diabetes because its safety in people with diabetes and some other high risk conditions hasn't been established.

To help prevent the spread of flu:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu–like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities and limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster.

Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best when started within 2 days of getting sick, so contact your health care provider promptly if you have diabetes and flu-like symptoms.

Warm regards,

Nov. 05, 2015