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October 9, 2001

Other Illnesses

Question from Springfield, Virginia, USA:

I am a mid-30 year old female with type�1 diabetes for 18 years, and allergy testing revealed that I am allergic to thimerosal. I have had the flu shot for several years now (missed it last year because I got sick and could not shake it in the time that I felt was beneficial). I have never had any kind of reaction, but I believe it contains thimerosal as a preservative. What should I do?

Answer:

If you are allergic to the flue shot preservatives, then don’t get the flu shot. Not everyone with diabetes needs the flu shot since it only protects against a single type of flu bug (influenza).

SB

[Editor’s comment: There are now medications to treat the flu — amantadine (Symmetrel), rimantadine (Flumadine), zanamivir (Relenza), and oseltamivir (Tamiflu) — see Flu Shots at the Diabetes Monitor.

WWQ]