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Dr. Bill's Commentaries

Flu shots: is it too late for this year's shot?   (December 22, 2006)

It’s that time of year again - holidays and getting your flu shot. Every year around now, people with diabetes are reminded to get their annual influenza immunization (if you haven’t already done so!).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states:

“People who should get vaccinated each year are: People at high risk for complications from the flu, including:

  • Children aged 6 months until their 5th birthday,
  • Pregnant women,
  • People 50 years of age and older, and
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions;
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.
One of those ("chronic medical conditions") includes diabetes, folks. The CDC also reminds us that every year in the United States, on average, 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and; about 36,000 people die from flu. Rather grim, and easily prevented: just get your flu shot sometime between roughly the beginning of October and roughly the end of the calendar year.

The CDC says "October or November is the best time to get vaccinated, but getting vaccinated in December or even later can still be beneficial since most influenza activity occurs in January or later in most years. Though it varies, flu season can last as late as May."

So, do your shopping, and get your flu shot!

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Dr. Bill Quick began writing at HealthCentral's diabetes website in November, 2006. These essays are reproduced at D-is-for-Diabetes with the permission of HealthCentral.

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