People dealing with diabetes should get a flu vaccine every year. You should get the flu shot fairly early in the Fall because it takes about two weeks to start working. Flu season can last until early Spring, so there are benefits of getting your flu shot until February. And if you haven’t already done so, a pneumonia shot is also recommended. This can be done any time during the year. One pneumonia shot is generally needed in a lifetime. Some conditions may require an additional pneumonia vaccine.
Why It's Important
Diabetes can weaken the immune system causing people with diabetes to be more likely to catch the flu and also to catch more severe cases of it. People with diabetes are six times more likely to be hospitalized with flu complications. People who have diabetes and get the flu or pneumonia are about three times more likely to die from it.
More Ways to Protect Yourself this Flu Season
- Encourage close family and friends to get their flu shot. Flu is highly contagious so keeping others well around you will lower your risk of getting the flu.
- Stay away from people who are sick with the flu since it is so contagious.
- Regularly wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. This is extremely important. Lysol has also been proven to kill the flu bug. While much of the flu is spread through the air, some is spread through touch. Think of all the things you touch daily that others do as well-phone, doorknobs, remote controls, keyboards, and money. Keep your hands clean especially before eating or touching your face and mouth. Another good habit is to wash your hands thoroughly the first thing when you get home.
- Be sure to eat well--a healthy diet with good variety to boost your immune system. A diet that is rich in lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is a good start. Talk to your family doctor to make sure you are doing all you can to boost your immune system, including getting good levels of vitamins and minerals.
*** Very Important Tip: Always talk with your family doctor before getting any vaccine. The flu vaccine should be avoided if you have an allergy to eggs, chicken, or if you have had a breakthrough flu, meaning you caught the flu two weeks or after getting your flu shot.
Most health insurance policies, including Medicare and Healthspring, cover costs for both the flu shot and pneumonia shot so there is no excuse not to get your vaccinations if you want them.
Dr. Paul Leavitt is a Board Certified Family Physician in Hendersonville, TN who practices at Leavitt Family Medicine. He is Accepting New Patients and Most Insurances including Healthspring and Medicare. We welcome your comments and questions. Let us know how we can help you today!