Atlanta, Georgia, USA: Each year, thousands of adults in the United States get sick from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccines. Because diabetes can make it harder for your immune system to fight some infections, you may be at higher risk of getting certain diseases if you are living with diabetes. Additionally, people with diabetes are also at higher risk of serious problems from some vaccine preventable diseases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, says.
Your blood sugar may be high when you are sick. However, sometimes people don’t feel like eating when they are sick, and this can cause blood sugar levels to fall. It’s important to monitor your blood sugar more often when you are sick.
While there is no cure yet for diabetes, there are steps you can take to stay healthy. You may know the basics – Make time for regular physical activity, eat right and keep up with medical care.
But there’s an essential step you may be missing: staying up to date with vaccines, CDC says.
Vaccines That People with Diabetes Need – CDC
• Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.
• People with diabetes are at high risk of serious flu complications, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, and ear infections, often resulting in hospitalization and sometimes, even death.
A flu shot every year is the single best way to protect yourself from the flu.
The Tdap vaccine protects against three serious diseases caused by bacteria:
• Tetanus causes painful muscle tightening and stiffness. It kills about 1 out of 10 people who are infected, even after receiving medical care.
• Diphtheria causes a thick coating to form in the back of the throat and can lead to breathing problems, heart failure, paralysis, and death.
• Pertussis (whooping cough) causes severe coughing spells, which can cause difficulty breathing, vomiting, and disturbed sleep.
CDC recommends all adults get the Tdap vaccine once, and a Td vaccine booster dose every 10 years, to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
• Shingles is a painful rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body. Years later, it may cause shingles..
• For some people the pain can last for months or even years after the rash goes away — known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).
• Zoster vaccine reduces the risk of developing shingles and PHN in people who have been vaccinated.
Herpes zoster vaccine is approved for people age 50 years and older. CDC recommends vaccination. People with very weak immune systems should not get the zoster vaccine.
• Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by pneumococcus bacteria.
• People with diabetes are at increased risk for death from pneumococcal infections, which include pneumonia (lung infection), bacteremia (blood infection), meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), and ear infections.
CDC recommends people with diabetes get pneumococcal vaccines once as an adult before 65 years of age and then two more doses at 65 years or older.
Hepatitis B vaccine
• Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and transmitted through blood or other body fluid. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.
• People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of hepatitis B virus infection.
• Hepatitis B can be spread through sharing of blood sugar meters, finger stick devices, or other diabetes care equipment, such as insulin pens. To prevent hepatitis B infection, never share diabetes care equipment.
CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccination for all unvaccinated adults with diabetes who are younger than 60 years of age. Many people have had the hepatitis B vaccine as a child, so check with your doctor to see if you have been vaccinated already. If you are 60 years or older, talk to your doctor to see if you should get the hepatitis B vaccine, CDC adds.