Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Adults With Diabetes Need a Flu Shot: Experts

Large Canadian study finds people with diabetes are more likely to get sick from flu, be hospitalized


Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said people with diabetes have weakened immune systems. "Diabetics are not as strong in defending themselves against disease, and that's why they need to get the flu vaccine," he said.

Flu shots are recommended for the general public as well, another expert said.

The recommendation in the United States is that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot, said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

This is especially important for people at risk for complications from flu, including people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, and pregnant women, he said.

These complications include pneumonia, hospitalization, and dying of the disease or its complications, Schaffner said.

"This study reaffirms what we should be doing and are not doing optimally yet," Schaffner said. "We are not vaccinating the majority of people with diabetes."

Based on their findings, Johnson's team calculated that even if only 20 percent of people with diabetes were vaccinated, it would still be cost-effective in terms of fewer hospitalizations for flu. They cautioned, however, that this cost benefit might only apply in Canada and may differ in other areas.

Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an attending physician in the division of infectious diseases at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., said, "Not only should a person with diabetes get a flu shot, but people who live with that person should also be vaccinated."

"This prevents the possibility of infecting that individual, and surrounds a vulnerable person with additional protection," he said.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner