Health officials warn diabetics to get vaccinated against the flu
Flu season has almost arrived, and health officials are urging individuals with either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes to get vaccinated against the virus in order to avoid potentially serious health complications.
The flu can be a major health concern for just about everyone, but it can be a life-or-death situation for diabetics. Experts say the immune systems of these individuals are often not as strong as those of metabolically healthy people. This can make it much more difficult for them to fight off the infection.
When the virus is allowed to linger in a person it increases their chances of developing pneumonia, which can be deadly, particularly in those with compromised immune systems. In 2009 during the H1N1 flu pandemic, a quarter of diabetics hospitalized for the flu required intensive care.
Furthermore, many people do not feel like eating when they are ill. A less nutritious diet can make it extremely difficult for diabetics to manage their blood sugar levels. Periods of unchecked glucose levels increase the long-term risk of major health complications like heart disease and blindness.
For these reasons, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that all diabetics over the age of 6 months should be vaccinated against the flu every year. A vaccine is the surest way to prevent the illness.
The agency says that the best time to get vaccinated is before flu season officially starts in some parts of the country, which means individuals are running out of time. While there have been relatively few reported cases of flu so far this year, there will likely soon be many more. For individuals with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, the time to take steps to avoid a potentially serious health complication is now.