Flu season goes from October until May each year. The flu virus is very contagious. It can be passed through the air and also on surfaces. Because it is so easy to catch and pass the flu to others, it is important to be vaccinated. While getting the flu vaccine is a good precaution for most, it is absolutely necessary for other people. People of certain ages or with certain conditions can develop very dangerous complications if they have the flu. One condition is diabetes.
How the Flu Shot Can Protect Patients With Type 2 Diabetes
- Protects the Heart: People who suffer from type 2 diabetes can get an added benefit when they get the flu vaccine. They will have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. It is important for people with diabetes to stop smoking, keep their weight down, keep their blood pressure down, and get a flu shot to protect their hearts. A recent study has shown that people with type 2 diabetes who have had their flu shots have a 30 percent less chance of having a stroke. They also reduce their risk of heart failure by 22 percent. Also, they have a 24 percent lower risk of dying from any type of heart complication. Finally, the risk of a person with type 2 diabetes who gets their flu shot having a heart attack is statistically insignificant.
- Protects from Pneumonia: People who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing pneumonia from the flu. This can land the patient in the hospital for several days and even weeks. When they are protected from the flu, the chances of them developing pneumonia is greatly reduced.
Types of Flu Shots
When a person with type 2 diabetes gets a flu shot, they have a few option. A standard needle injection flu shot is good for anyone under the age of 65. If a person is over 65, they should consider a high dose flu shot. Due to their age, they need more than the typical dose. People under the age of 65 can also get the Flu-Mist flu shot. There are no needles involved with this shot, the actual vaccine is inhaled through the nose. Many doctors prefer that patients who have diabetes get the tradition or the high dose flu vaccine. This is because the safety of the Flu-Mist for these people has not yet been established.
Can the Flu Shot Make a Diabetic Sick?
Many people choose not to get the flu shot because they worry that it can cause the flu. This is not the case. With the traditional or high dose flu shot, there is no active virus in the vaccine. Some diabetics who get the shot will suffer from mild side effects, such as a low-grade fever, muscle aches, and a runny nose. The Flu-Mist vaccine does contain a small amount of the flu virus, however, it is not enough to cause them to develop the flu. Like the traditional and high dose vaccine, it can result in very mild side effects.
Take Regular Precautions
While it is important for a person with diabetes to get the flu vaccine, they should take everyday precautions as well. These include:
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer
- Clean and disinfect surfaces around the house and at work
The flu can lead to serious complication for people with type 2 diabetes. It is important that diabetics get the flu vaccine and take the necessary precautions to keep from contracting the disease.