If you have diabetes, don’t skip these 5 vaccines

As fall arrives, people add getting a flu shot to their to-do list.

While this vaccine and others should be a top priority for people with diabetes, many skip vaccines thinking they aren’t at risk for complications or fearing adverse reactions.

In fact, diabetes makes it harder for the immune system to fight off some infections, leaving people with the condition at a higher risk for serious complications from vaccine-preventable diseases, like the flu, pneumonia, hepatitis B, tetanus and shingles.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) strongly encourages everyone with diabetes to get vaccinations.

“People with diabetes may be at higher risk of getting certain diseases and also serious problems from diseases that could’ve been prevented with vaccines,” said Evan Sisson, PharmD, MHA, CDE, FAADE.

“Everyone should know what vaccines they need to protect themselves and discuss with their doctor whether they are up to date with the vaccines.”

AADE has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to spread the word on vaccines that are important for people living with diabetes. They include:

Influenza vaccine: A flu shot is the single best way to protect against seasonal flu.

Flu puts people with diabetes at high risk for health complications such as increased blood glucose levels.

The illness can also lead to more serious sicknesses such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, and ear infections, often resulting in hospitalization, and sometimes even death.

People should get a flu vaccine annually, and the vaccines are already available this year.

Tdap vaccine: The Tdap vaccine protects against three serious diseases caused by bacteria: tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, or whooping cough.

People should get the Tdap vaccine every 10 years.

Zoster vaccine: The zoster vaccine reduces the risk of developing shingles and PHN, serious illnesses for unvaccinated people as they age.

People age 50 and older should get the Zoster vaccine.

Pneumococcal vaccine: People with diabetes are at an increased risk for death from pneumococcal infections, which can include infections of the lungs, blood, ear and lining of the brain and spinal cord.

People with diabetes should get the pneumococcal vaccine once before the age of 65 and twice more after.

Hepatitis B vaccine: Since hepatitis B can be spread via shared blood glucose meters, finger stick devices and other diabetes care equipment, it’s critical that people with diabetes receive the vaccine.

The hepatitis B vaccine should be given to people who are younger than 60. People age 60 or older should ask their doctors about the vaccine.

Source: American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE).