On World Diabetes Day, Know How To Prevent Flu In Diabetics

diabetes and flu

With winter around the corner, everyone is gearing up to beat the cold and stay warm. But what you need to understand is that with winters comes the risk of flu. The cold and flu season is quite challenging even for the healthiest of us. But if you are already managing diabetes, you could be at risk of serious health complications. 

Flu season can worsen pre-existing diabetes. According to studies[1], people with diabetes are six times at risk of getting hospitalized due to influenza and around 3 times at risk of mortality due to flu. So it is important to be prepared beforehand and know what to do to fight flu while managing diabetes. On World Diabetes Day, here are a few tips for you during the flu season!

Tips for Diabetics During the Flu Season 

The first and foremost point to ensure your blood glucose levels are in control. This includes keeping a tab on your diet and eating patterns, leading an active lifestyle, taking medications on time and yes, checking your numbers. Apart from this, there are a few tips that can help you prevent and manage flu during the flu season.

1. Get a flu shot 

One of the best and most effective ways to stay protected from the flu is to get a flu shot. According to the American Association of Diabetes Educator (AADE), no matter how well your diabetes is controlled, every person with diabetes should get vaccinated for influenza. The flu shot is designed to prevent flu as it contains an inactivated virus. It prepares your immune system to produce antibodies to fight off the virus if you come in contact with it. 

Ideally, the vaccine should be taken once a year as the common flu viruses tend to vary every year. Also, if the vaccine remains the same, you should not skip your flu shot. This is because your immunity against the flu declines over time which can up your risk of getting sick this season. Talk to your doctor to know more about flu vaccination.

2. Check about other vaccines/medications 

Pneumonia is known to be one of the common complications of flu. Not many people are aware that flu and pneumococcal diseases are serious respiratory conditions that can increase the risk of hospitalization. And both of these diseases can be prevented with vaccination. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)[2], pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for people with diabetes to lower the risk of complications caused by the flu virus and should be a part of the diabetes management plan. 

3. Follow proper hygiene 

Apart from getting a flu vaccine, it is advised that people with diabetes should follow certain prevention measures. This includes covering their mouths when coughing, washing hands often (especially before and after using the washroom) and avoiding people who are sick. This can help lower the risk of catching the flu virus and also reduce the chances of diabetes-related health complications caused by the flu. However, do not self-medicate if you fall sick but get in touch with a doctor to know the right medication. Remember, following these simple tips can go a long way in managing flu and diabetes.

Watch this video to know more about diabetes!

Ask your doctor to know more about influenza vaccination today! 


1. Kesavadev J, Misra A, Das AK, et al. Suggested use of vaccines in diabetes. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Nov;16(6):886-93. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3510956/ 

2. Diabetes, Flu, and Sick Days. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/flu-sick-days.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2F www.cdc.gov%2Fdiabetes%2Fmanaging%2Fflu%2Findex.html 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent and unbiased views solely of the publisher. This is a part of the public awareness initiative on influenza supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of this article. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information. 

Updated Date: Nov 14, 2019 15:30:25 IST

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