November is American Diabetes Month. It’s also flu season. To improve your holidays, do one thing to avoid the flu: get your flu shot. Here’s why it is important for people with diabetes.

Why do people with diabetes need a flu shot each year?

The American Diabetes Association recommends an annual influenza vaccination for all people with diabetes. It is safe and effective. Moreover, it reduces complications associated with the flu.

People with diabetes are 6 times more likely to develop complications of the flu which require hospitalization (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In addition, deaths among people with diabetes are 5 percent to 15 percent higher than the general population during a flu epidemic.

Why are people with diabetes not getting flu shots?

There are some common reasons. Men with diabetes believe that they are not at risk of contracting the flu. The most common reason given by women with diabetes is concern about adverse reactions.

The more poorly controlled a person with diabetes blood sugar levels are, the less likely they are to have a flu shot.

I have diabetes. Where do I get a flu shot?

Flu shots are available at your primary care provider’s office, though workplace wellness programs, and local pharmacies.

Get your flu shot if you have diabetes or have another chronic condition.

Learn more about Diabetes Care at the University of Vermont Medical Center. 

Linda Tilton, MS, RD, CDE, is a Clinical Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at The University of Vermont Medical Center.

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