Diabetes and Flu Can Be a Deadly Combination

July 25, 2013

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and the Employers' Health Coalition (EHC) would like to encourage persons with Diabetes, or other chronic conditions to contact their health care professional regarding getting flu and pneumonia immunizations this fall. 

Diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death in Arkansas.  Having the flu can be dangerous for anyone. But it can be deadly for people with diabetes.  For those diagnosed with diabetes, even when well-managed, they have an increased risk of severe complications, like hospitalization or even death, as a result of getting the flu.  This is because diabetes can make the immune system less able to fight the severe influenza disease.  In addition, illness can raise your blood sugar level.  Also, when people are sick, they don’t usually feel like eating, and this can cause blood sugar levels to rise and fall.

According to Lisa K Roling, BSN, RN, CDE, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, who are 6 months and older, get a flu shot providing their health care professional approves the flu shot for them.  People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are also at an increased risk of developing pneumonia therefore the ADA recommends that they speak to their health care professional regarding a pneumonia vaccine because illnesses like pneumonia can be a huge setback for someone with diabetes.

EHC’s Diabetes Resource Program (DRP) provides resources, educational classes, quarterly newsletters, personal phone calls, attend on-site health fairs, and engage diabetics and pre-diabetics through a variety of tools including Facebook, Emails, and more. 

We are in the process of putting together a Southern Style Diabetic Friendly cookbook that will be sent to all of our diabetic members in the DRP.   We have plans for future Diabetic Walks, and challenges for each employer to use and encourage their employees to take charge of their health.  For more information regarding the Employers' Health Coalition or the Diabetes Resource Program, please contact EHC at (479) 431.6762.

Return to News Main Page