Adults with Diabetes and the Risk of Seasonal Influenza

| Apr 27, 2014

If you have diabetes, the flu can be particularly risky.

According to the results of a new study, working-age adults with type 2 diabetes are at an especially increased risk of doctor visits, hospitalizations and death from the flu, making an annual vaccine all the more important for this at-risk group.

Researchers from Manitoba, Canada, looked at more than 160,000 subjects of an average age of 50.5 and found that those with diabetes were as likely as those who were elderly to develop complications from flu-related symptoms - and six times more likely to die - than those without diabetes.

Working age was identified as age 65 or less for the parameters of the study.

Diabetes can lead to a weakened immune system, experts say, which makes those with the disease more vulnerable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that those with diabetes are three times more likely to be hospitalized with the flu.

Having the flu can lead to elevated blood glucose as well as flu-related complications such as pneumonia, according to, making it more important than ever to keep a close eye on blood sugar levels, and check it as often as possible.

"Feeling tired from the flu can mask symptoms of low blood glucose and high blood glucose," said diabetes educator Debby Johnson in an interview with US News and World Report.

Experts say getting a flu vaccine is important protection, and recommend an injection since the nasal vaccine have been found to be unsafe for those with diabetes.

"Guidelines calling for influenza vaccinations in diabetic, in addition to elderly, adults implicitly single out working-age adults with diabetes," said Darren Lau of the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. "We found that working-age adults with diabetes appear more susceptible to serious influenza-attributable illness. These findings represent the strongest available evidence for targeting diabetes as an indication for influenza vaccination, irrespective of age."

For diabetics who do get the flu, suggests reading cold and flu medication labels before taking them since they may be high in sugar - especially the liquid medicines - which can lead to elevated blood sugar.

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: CDC,, Diabetic, Elderly, Flu, Guidelines, Immune System, Influenza Vaccinations, medication, Sugar, type 2 diabetes, US News,

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.