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.