Shots to Protect


Vaccination is administered in infancy to safeguard children from influenza and various other dreadful diseases. But it is equally important for adults who have Diabetes to be vaccinated as well. Immunity is a major concern for people with Diabetes. Due to hampered defence mechanism, people living with Diabetes are at a high risk of contracting various infections like pneumonia (infection in lungs), bacteraemia (infection in the blood) and meningitis (infection in the lining of spinal cord and brain). Doctors prescribe vaccinations to people with Diabetes to protect against influenza (flu), pneumonia and hepatitis B.

Influenza is carried by a virus and is extremely contagious. The virus spreads in the air through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Influenza affects the respiratory system and leads to an abnormal rise in blood sugar levels. Touching infected surfaces and then touching the nose or mouth could also spread the infection. Since the flu virus evolves every year, people who are having Diabetes are advised to take flu vaccination every year.

The most common and dangerous complication of influenza is pneumonia. Carried by a set of bacteria, the disease affects the lungs and makes breathing difficult for people with Diabetes. It can lead to serious complications in people with Diabetes, even when their blood sugar levels are under control. People who are 65 years or older are recommended taking one dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine every year.

Hepatitis B is highly contagious and could lead to serious liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis and even liver cancer. It can easily spread through infected needles, syringes, fingersticks, blood glucose meters and other Diabetes care instruments such as insulin pens and syringes. Therefore, people with Diabetes are advised to take the Hepatitis B vaccine immediately after a diagnosis of Diabetes.

Other vaccinations recommended for people with Diabetes are tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap). These are suggested to women who are pregnant and any person who is not sure of his previous session of vaccination. Shingles are caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. It lies dormant in the body throughout your life but can revive in the form of rashes and is extremely painful. The chances of contracting shingles increase with progressing age. To prevent the occurrence of shingles, a one-time vaccination is recommended for people with Diabetes.

Source: American Diabetes Association 2016 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 

Diabetes Health Magazine