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Sep
20

Diabetes educator: Get armed against the flu

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Flu-Shot-logoFlu season is right around the corner and certified diabetes educators like Elaine Blackwood know the time is right to advocate flu shots and raise awareness among people living with diabetes. Instead of learning how to overcome a flu attack, Blackwood would rather see her patients avoid the bug altogether with timely and regular immunizations.

It is hard to predict how dangerous a bout with the flu can be. It can be serious for anyone, but it is particularly risky for people with chronic conditions like diabetes. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, using oral medication, injections or an insulin pump, the need to protect against the flu is great. If you have questions about your specific needs, Blackwood says it is best to discuss your concerns with your doctor.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says the best time to get flu shots is beginning in September. The shot takes about two weeks to take effect, but if you are dealing with an illness like a respiratory infection or cold, you should wait until you are well before getting a flu shot.

The Mayo Clinic explains that chronic medical conditions can also increase your risk of influenza complications.

These conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer or cancer treatment
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Obesity

If you are talking to your doctor or diabetes educator about getting a flu shot, please remember to seek advice about getting a pneumonia vaccine. People with diabetes are about three times more likely to die with flu and pneumonia.

A pneumonia shot is recommended for people with diabetes older than 2 because of the greater chance of getting and dying with pneumonia. The ADA also explains the pneumonia shot can also protect you from other infections caused by the same bacteria.

For more information about the flu shot visit

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