Diabetes and Flu Shots During COVID-19

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on. For individuals with diabetes, the threat from coronavirus is particularly acute. While diabetes doesn’t make someone more or less likely to acquire the virus, a recent study does suggest that people with diabetes who do get sick from coronavirus are at significantly greater risk for more severe complications, including death.

Now, with flu season upon us, the risk of serious illness is compounded. That makes getting a flu shot more important than ever for people with diabetes.

Diabetes leaves the body vulnerable to a wide range of ailments, such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, hypertension, kidney disease, and skin problems. But when someone with diabetes gets the flu, it puts them even more at risk for these complications as well as the worst effects of both the flu and COVID-19.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even people with diabetes who do an excellent job managing their condition are at high risk of serious complications from the flu. These include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, and ear infections. During recent seasons, about 30 percent of all adults hospitalized for the flu had diabetes.

How The Flu Threatens Those With Diabetes

The flu is particularly dangerous for those with diabetes because of its effect on the immune system, weakening the vital protections the body deploys to fight off infection. Acute illnesses like the flu can also make it harder to control blood sugar levels. Flu’s diminishment of appetite can cause blood sugar levels to fall, which is why following the CDC’s sick day guidelines for individuals with diabetes is critical if they come down with the flu.

CDC’s Flu Shot Recommendations For People With Diabetes

The CDC strongly urges everyone, including people who have diabetes, to get a flu shot every year. Specifically, they recommend:

  • Injectable influenza vaccines (flu shots) for use in people with diabetes and other health conditions. The flu shot has a long, established safety record in people with diabetes.
  • For people age 2 through 49, The live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the nasal spray vaccine, is an option. But, people with diabetes should generally not receive LAIV.  Your doctor or other health care professional can answer any questions you might have about the flu vaccine.

Managing and Monitoring Your Glucose Levels Is One Of The Best Things You Can Do To Minimize The Worst Consequences of the Flu or Coronavirus

Simply put, effectively managing your diabetes is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk of getting severely ill from both the flu and COVID-19.  Vigilant, accurate, and regular monitoring of glucose levels is an indispensable part of those efforts. Fortunately, advancements in glucose monitoring technology have made controlling your glucose levels easier than ever.

Traditional glucose monitoring involves pricking a finger multiple times a day to test blood samples, an inconvenient and uncomfortable burden. Now, Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) allows those with diabetes to avoid the finger-pricking through the use of a tested and FDA-approved transceiver device.

With easy-to-use features that can help each person proactively record and track glucose levels—as well as provide valuable insights on data that helps manage exercise, meals, and daily health status—CGM is a game-changer for individuals with diabetes.

Contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.


If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit www.freestylelibre.us for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18

*The FreeStyle LibreLink app and the FreeStyle Libre 14 day reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 app and the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol and when your glucose alarms and readings from the system do not match symptoms or expectations

‡‡‡Based on the sensor being replaced once every 14 days, and scanned at least once every 8 hours.

§§§Glucose readings are not available during 1-hour warm-up, when sensor is too hot or too cold, when you see an error or "LO" or "HI" message, or no current glucose reading