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October 15, 2009

Other Illnesses

Question from Tampa, Florida, USA:

With all the recent media coverage concerning the H1N1 virus (otherwise know as the swine flu) and how dangerous it is for diabetics and other individuals with chronic illnesses to be exposed, what kind of precautions can diabetics, like my son who was diagnosed about a year ago, to avoid such a nasty virus? His A1Cs thus far have been under 6. Is there really a cause for such great alarm or is the media hyping up the whole issue?


This is a great question and nobody yet knows the answer. If someone with diabetes is in good control, an A1c less than 7%, then they are probably not at any greater risk than the general population. The usual guidelines for including those with diabetes in high risk populations does not separate kids from adult, type 1 from type 2 or degree of glucose control. So, these are general guidelines. That said, we are recommending, and most other pediatric diabetologists are recommending the same around the world, that you immunize for sure against the regular influenza this year since this is a safe and reliable vaccination. Immunize against the swine flu according to guidelines from your own country. In the USA, that is the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics and both say that this is reasonable. The biggest risks seems to be in the age group of kids about 10 to young adults, ages 25 to 30, so far.


[Editor’s comment: See also a previous question we answered about “swine flu” prevention.