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Diabetes and the Flu

As the world is anxiously awaiting a COVID-19 vaccine, it is important not to forget about the importance of other annual vaccinations, such as the influenza (flu) vaccine. Due to the pandemic, this year in particular, may even be more important than ever to get the flu shot and avoid any unwanted trips to the doctors or hospital. The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu and keep you and your family healthy.

What should people with diabetes know about the flu?

Here are commonly asked questions regarding the flu:1

  • Each year the flu causes hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths.
  • People with diabetes are found to be at a higher risk of complications caused by the flu.
  • People with diabetes have accounted for about 1/3 of flu hospitalizations, and are at a greater risk of dying due to the flu.
  • One study found that the flu vaccination reduced hospitalization by 79% in those diagnosed with diabetes.

Who should get the flu shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends EVERYONE above the age of 6 months get the flu vaccination.1

Who is at risk for getting the flu?

Although anyone can get the flu, those at high risk of experiencing flu-related complications include:1

  • Adults over the age of 65 (*those older than 65 should consider a high dose flu vaccine)
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals with chronic conditions such as: asthma, heart disease, diabetes, HIV/aids, cancer and chronic kidney disease

Will the flu vaccine protect against COVID-19?

No, although they both have some similarities, the flu shot can only help to prevent the flu.1

What are the signs and symptoms of influenza?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

When should I get the flu shot?

  • Flu season may vary each year, but typically runs between October-March.
  • Since the flu shot may take up to two weeks after receiving it to become effective, the CDC recommends getting the vaccine before the end of October.1

Does the flu shot cause the flu?

NO! The flu shot cannot cause the flu. You may experience some mild symptoms such as: soreness or a low-grade fever, but this is not the flu.1

Can I still get the flu even though I had the vaccine?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Although you can still get the flu even with the vaccine, there is sufficient evidence that supports having the flu shot reduces the severity of the flu.1

Where can I get a vaccine?

Primary care offices, retail pharmacies, and clinics.

Where can I get more information?

There are many myths surrounding the flu vaccine. If you have questions or concerns regarding the flu shot, please speak with your healthcare team including your doctors or pharmacists. Additional information can be found from reputable websites such as the CDC.

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