Flu Shots Important for Diabetics
The American Diabetes Association recommends an annual influenza vaccine for people with diabetes. The flu bug is starting to creep up on Americans. The northern regions of the country have already reported their first cases of influenza. For diabetics, a flu shot is usually worth the expense and the slight pinch.
The flu vaccine is not perfect, and it does not guarantee immunity to the flu. Vaccinated people still get the flu. There are many strains of influenza and the vaccine you receive may not match the strains that are active in your area.
Vaccine makers work with government entities to predict which strains are most likely to emerge. According the Centers for Disease Control Questions & Answers, Seasonal Flu Vaccine Web page:
Each year, many laboratories throughout the world, including in the United States, collect flu viruses. Some of these flu viruses are sent to one of four World Health Organization (WHO) reference laboratories, one of which is at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, for detailed testing. These laboratories also test how well antibodies made to the current vaccine react to the circulating virus and new flu viruses. This information, along with information about flu activity, is summarized and presented to an advisory committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and at a WHO meeting. These meetings result in the selection of three viruses (two subtypes of influenza A viruses and one influenza B virus) to go into flu vaccines for the following fall and winter. Usually, one or two of the three virus strains in the vaccine are changed each year.
The vaccine only lowers your risk of contracting the flu. However, if you get sick with a strain you were not vaccinated against, the antibodies you developed for other strains may still help you fight off the flu faster and ease your symptoms. For diabetics, a couple of mild or moderate sick days are vastly better than five severe sick days.
Your physician can tell you when you should receive this vaccination. Some areas of the country have longer flu seasons, so the vaccination’s effectiveness may wear off before the season ends. In those areas, your physician will help you time the risk. He or she may encourage you to have a second dose toward the end of the winter.
In addition to the influenza vaccine, adults should consider a pneumococcal vaccine at least once in their life. It will protect against a number of infections including ear infections, pneumonia, blood infections, and meningitis. Some people may need more than one pneumococcal vaccine in their lifetime. Your physician will coach you.
Immunizations are not advisable for people with suppressed immune systems and a few other health conditions. Your physicians will guide you through the decision.