Immunizations are not just for young children and the elderly. The more than 29 million Americans with diabetes also are at a higher risk of getting certain diseases because of weakened immune systems.
Additionally, people with diabetes are at higher risk of serious problems and even death from some vaccine-preventable diseases, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
When you are ill it can be harder to monitor your blood sugar levels, which can have dangerous ramifications for diabetics. It is important to monitor your blood sugar more carefully when you are sick to make sure your blood sugar levels don’t get too high or too low.
What vaccines do people with diabetes need?
The influenza vaccine, Tdap vaccine, zoster vaccine, Pneumococcal vaccine, and hepatitis B vaccine are all highly recommended by the CDC because people with diabetes are at increased risk of death from the illnesses caused by viruses and the bacteria that these vaccines protect against.
The flu (influenza) shot every year is the best way to protect yourself from the flu. People with diabetes are at high risk of serious flu complications, often resulting in hospitalization and even death.
The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). The CDC recommends that all adults get the Tdap vaccine once and a vaccine booster every 10 years.
The zoster vaccine is recommended for all adults over 50 as almost one out of every three people in the United States will develop shingles, also known as herpes zoster, in their lifetime.
Pneumococcal vaccine protects the body against pneumococcal bacteria which cause thousands of cases of meningitis, pneumonia, bacteremia (blood infection), and ear infection each year. The CDC recommends that 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.
People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of hepatitis B virus infection because it can easily be spread through the sharing of blood sugar meters, finger stick devices, and insulin pens. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to liver cancer. The CDC recommends the hepatitis B vaccine for all unvaccinated adults under the age of 60. If you are 60 years or older, talk to your doctor to see if you should get the hepatitis B vaccine.
If you have diabetes it is important to talk to your doctor and make a plan for vaccination.