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People with Diabetes Urged to Get Flu Shots

Diabetes brings with it. . .a greater chance of getting the flu and suffering the worst of symptoms.'

by John C. Riley

It takes only moments to protect yourself from the fever, aches, sweats, fatigue and other symptoms by getting your annual flu vaccine. People with diabetes must be especially cautious.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and another 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes brings with it another relatively unknown risk – a greater chance of getting the flu and suffering the worst of symptoms.

“Now is the time to ensure you’ve gotten your flu shot, but it’s also important to make sure all of your immunizations are up to date. Even local hospitals are making it mandatory for physicians on staff to have a flu shot” said Dr. Vickie James, Medical Director of Essential Medical Care located in College Park, GA.

People suffering with diabetes are at a unique risk for flu-related complications because diabetes weakens the immune system, making it harder for a person with diabetes to fight the flu.

People living with diabetes have the best chance of avoiding the flu by getting a flu shot. Public health advocates urge anyone with diabetes to get a flu shot as soon as possible before the flu season peaks during the cold months.

Georgia was one of the five states with the largest increase in diabetes rates from 1995 through 2010 and consistently struggles with high diabetes rates. Anyone with questions about where or how to get a flu vaccination should consult their healthcare provider.

The Georgia Diabetes Coalition is a nonprofit membership organization that serves as a unified voice for improving the quality of life for those with and affected by diabetes.

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Mr. Riley is executive director of the Georgia Diabetes Coalition, based in Downtown.

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