Flu and Diabetes

Did you know that your immune system weakens with diabetes

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“I have been managing my diabetes well since childhood.  Although my doctor regularly advises me to get vaccinated against influenza, I always thought influenza was just like having a runny nose or cold. However, when I caught influenza, I suffered from fever, shivering, sinusitis, post-nasal drip as well as head and body ache. I was hospitalised for a whole week and given inhalers and corticosteroids for inflammation which resulted in losing control of my blood sugar levels.

Now I know that with diabetes, influenza can get worse and cause
serious complications.”

*Isabelle, 42, designer – diabetic since childhood


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Did you know that your immune system weakens with diabetes, which reduces your bodies ability to fight infection?2 That’s why people with diabetes are more likely to suffer from serious complications of influenza such as pneumonia, serious cardiac events and neurological complications.2,3

An acute influenza infection can also make it tough to control your blood sugar level.  Influenza usually raises your blood sugar, but being ill can also reduce your appetite, leading to low blood sugar levels.2,4


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Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against influenza and reduce the risk of its complications.7

People with diabetes are recommended to receive a influenza vaccination every year to stay protected.2,7

Influenza vaccines are well tolerated.  As with any vaccines, side effects can occur but these are generally mild.8


*This patient testimonial has been adapted based on data collected in market research across 3 countries. The name has been changed. Patient image is a model. Sanofi Pasteur. HCP and patient testimonials. Internal data. 20181

  1. Sanofi Pateur. HCP and patient testimonials. Internal data. 2018.
  2. CDC. Flu and people with diabetes. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/diabetes/index.htm. Accessed January 2021
  3. CDC. Flu Symptoms and Complications. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm. Accessed January 2021
  4. CDC. Key Facts About Influenza. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm. Accessed January 2021.
  5. Bouter KP, et al. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 12:61-8 (1991)
  6. Samson SI, et al. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 15(1):44-52(2021).
  7. World Health Organization. Factsheet (Influenza). 2018 Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/index.html. Accessed January 2021.
  8. CDC. Flu Vaccine Safety information. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/general.htm. Accessed January 2021.

sanofi-aventis south africa (pty) ltd., Reg. no.: 1996/010381/07, Floor 5, Building I, Hertford Office Park,
90 Bekker Road, Midrand, 2196. Tel : (011) 256 3700. MAT-ZA-2200847-1.0-11/2022

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