It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Shot!

Why the flu vaccine can be extra-important for those with diabetes.

Health Monitor Staff
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One in five Americans will get the flu this winter. And having diabetes means you’re at higher risk not just for contracting the flu but for developing serious complications, like pneumonia, as well. Haven’t gotten a vaccine yet? it’s a good idea to get one now.

Why is the flu more serious if you have diabetes?
Having diabetes can weaken your immune system, making it more difficult for your body to fight the flu virus. What’s more, being sick raises your blood sugar, which, especially if you’re type 1, puts you at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis, a buildup of acids in the bloodstream and urine.

What is the flu vaccine?
The vaccine is made annually to protect against flu strains expected to be most widespread that season. Two types are available: a flu shot, which contains a killed virus, and a nasal spray, which contains a weakened live form of the virus. However, you should only get the flu shot—the nasal vaccine is unsafe for people with diabetes.

Where can I get the flu shot?
Drugstores and health clinics nationwide provide walk-in vaccinations. You can also get the vaccine at your doctor’s office or local health department. For locations, search

Got the shot, but still got the flu?
It can happen because the vaccine isn’t 100% effective. To avoid complications . . .

  • Ask about antiviral medications. Your healthcare provider may prescribe these to lessen your symptoms and get you better faster.
  • Monitor frequently. Test your blood sugar every two to four hours.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat small meals.
November 2013