Protect Yourself from Influenza (The Flu)

by Susan Klick, MSN, RN, CNL Diabetes Educator

If you have diabetes, you are three times more likely to be hospitalized from the flu and its complications such as pneumonia, than other people. The flu may also interfere with your blood glucose levels.

But there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

  • Get a flu shot! It’s the single best way to protect yourself against the flu.            
  • Take prescription flu medicine when your health care provider prescribes it.
  • Follow sick day rules for people with diabetes.
  • Take everyday steps to protect your health.

People with diabetes should talk with their health care provider now to discuss preventing and treating the flu. People infected with the flu can pass it on to others a day or two before any symptoms appear. That’s why it is important to make sure the people around you get a flu shot as well.

A flu shot is the single best way to protect yourself against the flu.

The vaccine is safe and effective. It has been given safely to hundreds of millions of people.  Everyone ages 6 months and older should get the flu shot unless told otherwise by a health care provider, especially people with diabetes. The flu shot is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The vaccine used in the shot is made from killed virus. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot. A few people may be sore or notice some redness or swelling where the shot was given or have a mild fever.

Pneumococcal vaccine is also recommended for people with diabetes. One possible complication of flu can be pneumonia. A pneumonia (pneumococcal) vaccine should also be part of a diabetes management plan. Talk to your health care provider for more information on getting both vaccines.

St. Anthony’s offers the flu vaccine without an appointment from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at each of its four urgent care centers. For more information on St. Anthony’s flu shots, call our flu shot hotline at 314-525-4999 or 314-ANTHONY (268-4669).

Sources:

CDC: Diabetes Public Health Resource

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