The Richmond Register

November 7, 2012

Flu, pneumonia shots could be lifesavers

By Gina Noe
Extension Agent

RICHMOND — If you have diabetes, a flu shot could be a lifesaver!

Do you need a pneumonia shot, too?

Having the flu can be hard for anyone, but it is extra risky for people with diabetes.

Diabetes can weaken your body’s ability to fight the flu virus.

Being sick can raise your blood glucose and keep you from eating properly. You are also at risk of flu-related problems like pneumonia.

So, for people with diabetes, the flu can mean longer illness. It can mean being put in the hospital or even death.

Ways you can prevent the flu

• Get a flu shot every year as soon as it is offered each fall!

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home when you’re sick to prevent others from catching your illness.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw the tissue in the toilet.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

• Wash your hands with soap and water often and after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners work well.

• Make use of “wipes” that some stores have to clean cart handles.

• Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active and manage your stress. Also drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.

Flu shot guide

• People with diabetes (6 months old or older) should receive a flu shot every year as soon as it is offered each fall.

• Children with diabetes under the age of 9 who get a flu shot for the first time should get two doses at least 28 days apart.  

• People with diabetes should receive the flu vaccine in a shot.  The nasal spray vaccine is not safe for people with diabetes.

NOTE: If you are allergic to eggs, check with your health care provider before receiving any flu vaccine.  

Pneumonia shots

A pneumonia shot is also important for people with diabetes and can be taken anytime during the year.  It is a safe and easy way to protect yourself.

Guide for pneumonia shots

• Adults and children (age 2 or more) with diabetes should receive a lifetime shot to protect against pneumonia.

• A second shot may be recommended for people with diabetes older than 65. Discuss the need for this second shot with your health care provider.

Getting flu and pneumonia shots is one of the easiest ways to prevent illness. Contact your health care provider, local health department or pharmacy to get more information on getting both shots.

(Source: Kentucky Diabetes Prevention and Control Program)

More information

For more information, please visit: or attend Diabetes Day this Saturday, Nov. 10, between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 330 W. Main St., Richmond.

The event will include free glucose, cholesterol and kidney function screenings. There also will be diabetic foot checks, blood pressure screening, carbon monoxide testing and many educational booths.

For more details about Diabetes Day, call 623-3462.

Educational programs of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.