Late Breaking News
CDC Recommends H1N1 Vaccine for Diabetics
WASHINGTON, DC—People with diabetes have an increased risk of severe illness from the flu, the CDC warned last month. “People with diabetes account for about 12% of all of the hospitalizations we’ve seen from the H1N1 influenza virus. If we focus in on adults, 19% of those people who have been hospitalized have diabetes,” said Anne Schuchat, MD, who directs the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Doctor Schuchat said that people with diabetes have an increased risk of severe illness from any flu. When diabetics get the flu, it can be more difficult for them to manage their blood sugar and they can suffer high or low blood sugar. Diabetics who have been hospitalized with H1N1 have a “good chance” of ending up in the intensive care unit, according to Dr Schuchat. One in four hospitalized patients with diabetes and H1N1 required intensive care unit management. “This can be a very severe illness in people with diabetes,” she said.
CDC recommends that all people with all types of diabetes who are 6 months through 64 years receive a 2009 H1N1 flu shot.Anyone with diabetes who is 6 months or older, including all persons 65 and older, are also recommended to obtain a seasonal flu shot. Diabetics should receive the flu vaccination in the form of the shot, not the nasal spray. Diabetics should also be vaccinated against pneumococcal infections, as influenza infections can make people more likely to develop bacterial pneumonia. Pneumococcal infections are a serious complication of seasonal and 2009 H1N1 influenza infections and can cause death, according to the CDC.
Diabetics with suspected H1N1, those who have fever and cough or other symptoms of respiratory illness like flu, need to visit their health care providers. “We recommend viral medicine, Tamiflu. It’s not necessary to wait for test results to come back on influenza testing, it’s just important to get prompt antiviral medicine,” noted Dr Schuchat.