"People with diabetes may have impaired immune systems that put them at higher risk of serious complications from influenza," said William Schaffner, MD, NFIDs vice president. "Influenza infection can interfere with blood sugar control, leading to low or high blood sugar and in some cases, even diabetic coma. Studies have shown influenza vaccination protects people with diabetes. All healthcare professionals who serve patients with diabetes need to step up their efforts to assure that every patient with diabetes is protected against influenza."
Nearly 20 of the nation's leading medical and public health groups have joined NFID's national initiative to provide healthcare professionals with practical strategies and tools to help increase low influenza immunization rates among people with diabetes. The new resources are now available via NFID's Web site, http://www.nfid.org.
Influenza is a serious and potentially deadly respiratory infection that spreads from person to person and infects up to 60 million Americans annually. The virus is responsible for more than 200,000 hospitalizations and an average of 36,000 deaths in this country each year. Influenza kills more Americans each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined. It is the fifth deadliest disease in the
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Studies have proved the effectiveness of influenza vaccine in persons with diabetes. In one study, vaccination reduced hospitalization and death by 72 percent in people with diabetes 18 to 64 years of age. Another study associated vaccination with a nearly 80 percent reduction in hospital admissions in children and adults with diabetes.
In addition to vaccinating persons with diabetes, it is also important for their close contacts, such as family members, close friends and co-workers, to be vaccinated. Close contacts can easily transmit influenza to those around them if they become ill.
"People don't realize how easily influenza can pass from one person to another in social, family and work environments," said NFID medical director Susan J. Rehm, MD. "Getting an influenza vaccination every year ensures we protect ourselves and those around us, especially those more vulnerable like people with diabetes."
Source: National Foundation for Infectious Diseases