Flu and Pneumonia Immunizations for Patients with Diabetes
Why they are important and what’s recommended.
Flu and pneumonia vaccines are critical for many populations. However, the flu and pneumonia are especially risky for people with diabetes and other forms of chronic disease. In fact, people with diabetes are three times more likely to die from flu and pneumonia than non-diabetics. So, if you or a loved one has diabetes, take a look at these facts and tips regarding flu and pneumonia immunizations to stay healthy and protected.
Diabetes impairs your body’s ability to fight off infection. Flu shots do not guarantee protection, but they statistically decrease severity and frequency of infection. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot.
The flu shot takes about two weeks to become effective. Onset of the flu season is variable, but often occurs between November and January. The best time to get your shot is by the end of October, but it is better to get vaccinated late than not at all.
The following are general precautions for preventing the seasonal flu and other communicable diseases:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating and after you cough or sneeze. Use alcohol-based sanitizers if water and soap are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Pneumonia vaccination is recommended for anyone with diabetes two years of age or older. Pneumococcal disease is any type of infection caused by Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria. It’s common in young children, but older adults and people with diabetes are at greater risk of serious illness and death from the infection.
About 10,000 people die each year because of these bacterial infections. Pneumonia vaccination, however, is about 60 percent effective in preventing the most serious pneumonias, meningitis, bacteremia, and death. The pneumonia vaccine is a routine pediatric series recommended by the CDC to be given during the first year of life. For people with diabetes, a single booster vaccination is recommended between ages 19 and 64, and a two-dose booster series is recommended after age 65.