Influenza

People with diabetes are at high risk of serious flu complications.diabetes and the flu.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year, and vaccinating the entire family.

If you have diabetes, you are three times more likely to be hospitalised and three times more likely to die from the flu and its complications than other people. The flu may also interfere with your blood glucose levels. So prevent flu and get a flu shot!

What is influenza?

Influenza is highly contagious as the viruses are spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes small virus-containing droplets into the air. If you’re nearby, you can breathe them in and infect your respiratory tract. However, it’s important to remember that touching contaminated surfaces (including hands) and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes can also lead to infection.

Influenza infection usually has different symptoms and causes a more severe illness than most other common viral respiratory infections and may be a life-threatening infection in certain people; it should not be confused with the common cold! Influenza, and its potential complications, can be very serious for people living with diabetes.

Vaccination

The NHMRC recommends vaccination in adults and children older than 6 months with chronic pulmonary or circulatory disease, including severe asthma, and other chronic illness that require regular medical follow-up or hospitalisation in the preceding year.

People living with diabetes need to get vaccinated– it could save their lives and will ensure they are protected when others bring the infection into their workplaces or social environment. People who work with or live with people who are at risk of complications, such as people living with diabetes, should also be immunised to avoid spreading the flu.

People can unknowingly infect others with influenza, as they may be contagious 1 day before and up to 5 days after symptoms appear.

Before flu season begins, get yourself and your family vaccinated against influenza.

What if I or my child gets the flu?

If you get flu symptoms – go and see your GP

If you get sick, prescription medicine (antivirals) can shorten the time that you are ill and can help prevent serious health problems that may result from influenza.

They work best when started within 48 hours of onset of flu symptoms, the earlier the better, so talk with your doctor now about what to do if you start to develop flu symptoms.

Remember that over-the-counter medications may make you feel better, however, they do not lessen the infection or its consequences. For more details please visit

www.flusmart.org.au.