With the reoccurrence of vaccine preventable diseases such as measles and whooping cough, childhood immunizations have been in the news lately. However, did you know that the CDC also recommends immunizations for adults?
Immunizations are very important for diabetes patients in order to prevent illnesses. With diabetes, your ability to fight infections can be impaired. In addition, if you get sick you have the potential to become sicker than the average individual. On top of all that, an infection may make your diabetes harder to control. There are some vaccines that are recommended in all adults and some vaccines that are only recommended in “high risk” groups such as people with diabetes and people who smoke.
Influenza vaccine: This vaccine protects against multiple strains of the flu. It is important to get this vaccine once a year around the beginning of flu season (September or October).
Pneumococcal vaccines: These vaccines protect against common causes of pneumonia. Not only do they help prevent pneumonia, they also help prevent blood stream infections and meningitis caused by the same bacteria. Two different vaccines are recommended.
Pneumovax23: covers 23 strains of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended in all people with diabetes, heart disease, COPD and everyone 65 years old and older.
Prevnar13: covers 13 strains of pneumococcal bacteria. It is recommended in all people 65 years and older and most of the time only needs to be given once in your lifetime.
Hepatitis B vaccine: This vaccine protects against Hepatitis B, a virus that causes a serious liver infection. Hepatitis B can be spread by blood or bodily fluids. Three injections over 6 months are needed to provide full immunity.
Tetanus vaccine: The tetanus vaccine prevents against bacterial infections. This bacterial lives in the soil, dust and manure and can enter the body though cuts and burns. This vaccine needs to be updated every 10 years.
Singles vaccine: Shingrix is the new shingles vaccine and in recommended for everyone 50 years and older to prevent a shingles infection, which is usually characterized by a painful rash with blisters. Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk of shingles. You will need two Shingrix vaccines in a 6-month period for the best protection.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to find out which vaccines you need. You can also visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adultquiz to take a quick quiz to see which vaccines you need.