Whether it’s type 1 or type 2, well-managed or uncontrolled – diabetes and the flu don’t mix well.
When people with diabetes get the flu they have a higher risk of complications like hospitalization and even death. Why is this? Diabetes can make the immune system less able to fight the influenza virus that causes the flu. In addition, sometimes people don’t feel like eating when they are sick. It may be difficult to maintain a regular diet or medication regimen, and this can cause blood sugar levels to rise or fall. Flu infection itself can also raise blood sugars. Even people whose diabetes is well controlled need to have a plan to manage their condition when they are sick.
Vaccination is the best protection against flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with diabetes who are six months and older get a flu shot every year. (It’s important to note that the nasal spray flu vaccine should not be given to people with diabetes.) People with diabetes are also at increased risk of developing pneumonia from the flu, therefore a pneumonia (pneumococcal) vaccine is also recommended and should be part of a diabetes management plan.
We saw the impact of flu on people with diabetes during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic – one in four patients with diabetes who were hospitalized for flu required intensive care. While these data are alarming, it sends the message that people with diabetes need to protect themselves against the flu.
The best time to get vaccinated is before flu season starts (in other words, now) and before people around you start becoming sick or ill. The flu vaccine is safe and effective. In fact, it has been shown to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths in people with diabetes.
If you have questions about the flu or flu vaccine, visit www.mass.gov/flu or contact the Department of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Immunization at (617) 983-6800. To find out where you can get a flu shot, talk with your health care provider or visit http://flu.masspro.org to find a flu clinic near you.
Working Together to Improve Adult Immunization Rates in MA posted on Apr 23
Registration for the 19th Annual Massachusetts Adult Immunization Conference is open! This event, to be held May 20, 2014 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA attracts professionals from local public health organizations, long-term-care facilities, pharmacies, college health, hospitals, physician practices, community health centers, employers, health …Continue Reading Working Together to Improve Adult Immunization Rates in MA
Weekly Flu Report, April 18, 2014 posted on Apr 18
This week’s flu report shows a late-season increase in the rate of flu-like illness in the state – an indication of the unpredictability of flu and a reminder of the importance of taking simple measures to stop the spread of illness in our homes and communities. …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, April 18, 2014
DPH Kicks Off Town Hall Meetings to Address Underage Drinking and Prescription Drug Abuse posted on Apr 15
Last week, the Department hosted the first in a series of statewide Town Hall Meetings that will examine what can be done to prevent underage drinking and prescription drug abuse in the Commonwealth. Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) Director Hilary Jacobs was joined at the …Continue Reading DPH Kicks Off Town Hall Meetings to Address Underage Drinking and Prescription Drug Abuse