Cold and flu season is here. So, now is the time of year to think about getting a flu shot. If you have a chronic illness such as diabetes, you should get the flu and pneumonia vaccine.
Why? Its simple: Vaccinations save lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 20,000 people in the US die of pneumonia, and anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 people die annually from the flu.
Q. If I have diabetes, do I need the flu shot or the pneumonia vaccine?
A.Yes, you need the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is recommended by CDC for all people over 50 with or without a chronic illness. This includes people with diabetes over the age of 2.
Yes you need the pneumonia vaccine. Any person over 65 years of age with or without a chronic illness, including people with diabetes over the age of 2 should receive this vaccine.
Q. How often do I need to receive a flu shot?
A.You should receive a flu shot each year. The best time to get this is in the fall. You need the flu shot each year because protection doesn’t last from flu season to flu season.
Q.How often do I need to get a pneumonia vaccine?
A. People with chronic disease such as diabetes may get two pneumonia vaccines during their lifetime. Your healthcare provider will determine the frequency based on your specific needs.
Q. Can the flu shot and the pneumonia vaccine be given at the same time?
A. Yes. There is no increase in side effects when people get both shots at the same time.
Q. Do the flu and pneumonia shots make you sick?
A. No, these vaccines are inactivated; therefore, they cannot cause an infection. If a person becomes sick after the flu shot it is usually due to another type of virus, such as those that cause the common cold.
Q. Are there any side effects to the flu shot and pneumonia vaccine?
A. The flu shot may cause skin reactions where the shot is given. Neurological reactions such as Guillain-Barre syndrome are rare. The pneumonia vaccine can cause pain and redness where the shot is given along with local and total body aches for 1-2 days after the shot.
Q. Are there allergy concerns with the flu and pneumonia vaccines?
A.Any allergy to previous vaccinations should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to vaccination. If you have a true allergy to eggs, you should not get the flu shot. Reactions are rare with the flu vaccine. An allergic reaction involves difficulty breathing, swelling of the mouth, throat or lips. Allergic reactions may occur with the pneumonia vaccine.
Q.Who should NOT get the flu shot or pneumonia vaccines?
A. Anyone who has experienced a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine in the past should not receive that particular vaccine again.
Steps to take before receiving vaccinations:
- Have a copy of your immunization records and update it regularly.
- Make sure that your healthcare provider knows of any allergies you have to food or medications.
- Make sure your healthcare provider knows about all of your health conditions.
- Be sure that the healthcare provider giving the shots asks you, or has you read, a list of the current screening questions to make sure that you are a candidate to receive the vaccinations.
- Call 1-800-FLU (358)-9950 to find out when the “flu shot” is being offered at your neighborhood Walgreens Pharmacy.
- Not all Walgreens offer pneumonia vaccines, so be sure to ask.