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

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 57591

Reported Deaths: 710
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby12842214
Davidson12549138
Rutherford332638
Hamilton308837
Sumner180256
Williamson159115
Trousdale15055
Knox14719
Out of TN125610
Wilson109917
Putnam9897
Bradley8894
Robertson88213
Sevier8633
Unassigned8372
Lake6970
Tipton6746
Montgomery6587
Bledsoe6251
Bedford5959
Macon5466
Hamblen4224
Maury4203
Hardeman3814
Fayette3463
Madison3402
Loudon3081
Rhea2940
Blount2803
Dyer2743
McMinn25718
Cheatham2522
Dickson2430
Washington2120
Lawrence2026
Cumberland1964
Anderson1782
Sullivan1782
Lauderdale1723
Gibson1581
Jefferson1571
Monroe1466
Smith1392
Coffee1340
Cocke1260
Greene1232
Hardin1207
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Haywood1112
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Franklin1043
Marshall1042
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McNairy911
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Carter771
DeKalb760
Roane750
Weakley691
Overton681
Campbell651
Grundy652
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Polk510
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Johnson440
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Jackson410
Humphreys382
Meigs350
Perry350
Morgan291
Decatur280
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Fentress250
Scott220
Union200
Houston190
Clay180
Moore170
Benton151
Hancock100
Lewis100
Pickett70
Van Buren70

 

 

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