Flu Shot: Vaccine vital for diabetics in Alabama

Alabama has one of the highest percentages of diabetics in the country. During flu season, the virus could cause more health complications.

Posted: Jan 16, 2019 5:26 PM
Updated: Jan 16, 2019 6:48 PM

With flu season in full swing, some Alabamians have a higher risk of health complications than others because of diabetes. That's because people with diabetes have a harder time fighting off the virus.

Claudia Hill has had the flu before, but after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2012, she knows she can't afford to miss a flu vaccine.

"I've heard some people that have contracted the flu, they really had a hard time, and I know that there have been deaths across the nation," Hill said.

Diabetes is the body's inability to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood because it cannot use or produce the necessary amount of insulin. Because of this, diabetics suffer from an impaired immune system and face a higher risk of infection. When it comes to the flu, it could cause more complications.

"Pneumonia is probably one of the number ones, but also infection, bladder infection, lung infection," Marlyse Knezevich, a diabetes educator at Huntsville Hospital, said. "If you have anything going on at that time that isn't healed, that is going to become worse."

The concern is bigger in Alabama. According to the United Health Foundation, 1 out of 10 adults in America suffers from diabetes, but in Alabama, that number jumps to 14.1 percent, the third highest in the country.

Diabetics are recommended to get vaccinated through the flu shot instead of the nasal spray, which actually could cause more problems.

"The nasal spray itself is a live virus, so when that is introduced to your body, you are essentially given a very small dose of the flu," Knezevich said.

With diabetics having weaker immune systems, introducing the flu to the body is a concern. Hill makes sure to get her flu shot every year now and says having diabetes has made her more aware of the dangers.

"I don't get scared necessarily, but I'm conscious of when I'm out and about, touching things, and making sure that I, you know, wash my hands," Hill said.

Knezevich says getting vaccinated earlier is the best option for diabetics in order to build up your immune system.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 242874

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31944500
Mobile19687361
Madison13065148
Tuscaloosa12983154
Montgomery12286236
Shelby1020377
Baldwin860398
Lee773566
Morgan653850
Calhoun6240119
Marshall621355
Etowah621066
Houston523038
DeKalb481336
Cullman435442
Limestone420645
St. Clair415855
Elmore404564
Lauderdale400454
Walker3634111
Talladega349054
Jackson313423
Colbert309342
Blount288840
Autauga271642
Franklin251033
Coffee242615
Dale231854
Dallas225932
Chilton221938
Russell22143
Covington218534
Escambia197931
Chambers176550
Tallapoosa175791
Pike158314
Clarke158019
Marion137936
Winston132323
Lawrence127336
Pickens122318
Geneva12138
Marengo121024
Bibb117317
Barbour117110
Butler115341
Randolph102021
Cherokee101524
Hale96131
Clay91124
Washington90919
Fayette89816
Henry8526
Lowndes79529
Monroe78711
Cleburne77114
Macon73122
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69419
Conecuh68414
Perry6846
Lamar6718
Wilcox63218
Sumter57722
Greene42418
Choctaw42113
Coosa3414
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 356716

Reported Deaths: 4526
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby47088658
Davidson42057419
Knox18467149
Rutherford17439160
Hamilton16555152
Williamson1116779
Sumner9573136
Wilson731678
Out of TN721051
Montgomery649683
Sullivan630096
Washington5844106
Maury578367
Putnam578282
Blount540660
Madison5275110
Bradley508435
Sevier476831
Unassigned449222
Robertson371052
Tipton357738
Hamblen340860
Dyer316051
Gibson315064
Greene300672
Dickson284833
Anderson283328
Coffee277641
Bedford270130
Carter266055
Lawrence263934
Obion260449
Cumberland248536
McMinn244555
Roane230929
Warren229419
Loudon224519
Hardeman223237
Jefferson222732
Fayette219138
Weakley212636
Monroe207444
Franklin204434
Lauderdale202523
Trousdale190212
Hawkins189834
Wayne189110
Henderson181533
Macon179228
Hardin174825
Marshall171520
White170918
Carroll169234
Rhea162931
Haywood160830
Cocke159530
Lincoln157914
Cheatham155317
Overton152935
Campbell152723
Henry149317
Giles143949
Johnson141321
Smith140919
McNairy138733
Fentress118920
Lake11656
Hickman116219
Bledsoe11595
Crockett113326
DeKalb111322
Marion107719
Scott10507
Chester101120
Grainger95416
Decatur93713
Unicoi83626
Claiborne8029
Benton78714
Grundy76914
Lewis74714
Cannon7293
Morgan7096
Union7065
Humphreys6948
Jackson67510
Polk65015
Houston58620
Stewart58415
Clay54018
Sequatchie5215
Meigs48313
Perry47721
Moore3893
Pickett38413
Van Buren3482
Hancock1563

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