People with diabetes should maintain certain vaccinations. Vaccines can prevent illnesses that may become serious if you have diabetes. Vaccinations reduce your risk of contracting life-threatening diseases.
- While some research reveals vaccines may cause disease, it is essential to follow through with immunizations to prevent harmful epidemics.
- Always have extra diabetes supplies on hand in case you get ill. Glucose monitoring is crucial when you are sick and may experience high fluctuations in blood sugar.
- Flu vaccine – Get a flu shot every year between October and mid-November, before the flu season starts. Influenza commonly referred to as the flu, can lead to bronchitis, pneumonia or possibly death. People with diabetes who get the flu may become chronically sick. You cannot get the flu from a flu shot because the viruses in the shot are dead (inactivated). Do not take if you are allergic to eggs and discuss this with your physician. Medicare will cover this vaccine.
- Pneumonia vaccine – The PPV vaccine for adults helps prevent 23 different types of pneumonia. Older people and those with a suppressed immune system are at a higher risk and should receive this vaccine. The first pneumonia vaccine is usually given at age 65. Consult with your heath care provider to see if you need a second vaccination and when to take it. A pneumonia vaccine can be administered anytime of the year. If it is given at the same time as a flu vaccine, use different arms for each shot.
- The Tdap vaccine is recommended for people between 11 and 64 years of age. It protects against three serious and potentially deadly bacterial diseases, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
- Incidences of pertussis, also known as whopping cough, have increased worldwide. Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death. Older people who watch small children or infants are at risk of developing pertussis and should be vaccinated; Pertussis can be deadly to small children. Tetanus vaccines should be updated every 10 years or when an accident occurs with a rusty metal object.
- Shingles vaccine – a shingles vaccine should be considered in those adults ages 60 and up or those who have had shingles at an earlier age. It can help reduce the risk of developing a painful rash called shingles (herpes zoster), which can be disabling for months or years. Anyone who has had the chicken pox can eventually develop shingles. The likelihood of shingles increases as you get older and especially if your immune system is compromised. Some private insurance plans and Medicare plans do not cover this vaccine and it is expensive. You may have to pay out-of-pocket for all or a portion of the cost.
- The MMR vaccine protects against three diseases. Typically two shots are given during early childhood. Adults over 18 should get the MMR vaccine if they are not sure if they had one. Measles can lead to dangerous conditions such as pneumonia, seizures, brain damage or death. Mumps can lead to deafness, meningitis and death.
- Hepatitis B vaccine – People undergoing hemodialysis for chronic kidney disease should receive the Hepatitis B vaccination. You are at a higher risk of developing the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) when you undergo hemodialysis which is used for kidney failure. HBV infections can become chronic for immunosuppressed patients.
Diabetes is a disease that puts you at risk of contracting other illnesses and lowers your ability to fight infection. A compromised immune system makes you more susceptible to getting sick and makes it difficult to recover. Be prepared by knowing which vaccinations to get and always check with your physician before taking a vaccine.