This year’s flu is the worst we have seen in a while. Patients are flooding into their physician’s offices and emergency rooms. Forty-two states have reported widespread flu activity and over 100 people have died so far, and it is still early in the season! People with diabetes are at increased risk of getting a secondary bacterial infection from the flu, so if you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, now is the time.
For you doubters out there, consider a couple of arguments to quell your anxiety. The flu vaccination doesn’t cause the flu and as medications go it doesn’t have a lot of side effects. Yes, you are correct, it doesn’t provide 100 percent protection (that depends on your age and health and the match between the viruses the vaccine is meant to protect against and the actual circulating viruses), but it is certainly better than enduring ten days of misery. In addition, it takes two weeks for the protection to become effective, so it is possible to be vaccinated and still develop the flu in the weeks before you develop immunity.
Most everyone should get the vaccine, but if the sick person is under six months, allergic to chicken eggs, has had a severe reaction to the vaccine in the past then he or she should opt for the injection. Those who have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome should talk to their health care provider about the risk/benefit ratio.
If you do get the flu, stay home, stay well hydrated and open up your sick day plan. Check out these tips for managing diabetes on sick days from Joslin. You may also want to ask your health care provider about Tamiflu®.