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The Flu Vaccine what to do?

Photo credit Pixabay.com

Every year, around this time, I have a conversation with myself about whether or not I should get the flu vaccine. And every year I make a different decision. Two signs of insanity right there; talking to myself and complete indecision. Whose worried? Not me! Oops, there I go again, talking to myself.  😆

Should everyone with diabetes get the flu vaccines? Well that is completely totally up to you.

So far, I’ve only gotten it once and that was the winter I was pregnant with my now 13 year old daughter. Since then, I maintained that if it’s not broke don’t fix it and I never get flu so I didn’t bother.

Except last year, I had clocked up one or two flus that knocked me out for a week at a time, I decided that I was going to get it. However, when I went to my GP, I already had a cold and decided to wait but then never got around to it. I’m not sick very often so I figure the odds are still on my side. I do know as I approach 65 I will decide that I’m better off vaccinated.

This year I’m still undecided but maybe swaying towards the “I will” side.

If you are like me and still thinking will I, won’t I, here’s some additional information for about it

IS THE FLU VACCINE FREE FOR PEOPLE WITH DIABETES?

“Yes” and “No” because nothing is ever straight forward in our health system.

Yes, the flu vaccine itself is free to everyone in the “At Risk” groups which includes people with diabetes.

No, because if you do not have a medical card, a GP services card or a HAA card, you will have to pay for someone to jab it in.

A lot of pharmacy chains offer the flu vaccine so you do have the option to walk into one of those and have it done there and then without making an appointment. Next time you are collecting your diabetes supplies you can ask.

 

Pneumococcal Vaccine

Photo credit HSE and Diabetes Ireland, MSD

It’s also worth mentioning that the HSE have also launched a Pneumococcal Vaccine campaign which shouldn’t be confused with the Flu vaccine. I would like to thank our guest speaker, Paul, from our last diabetes support group meeting for clarifying this information for us.
WHAT IS THE Pneumococcal Vaccine?

“Pneumococcal disease is an umbrella term for a range of illnesses caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (also known as the pneumo bug). It is a major cause of serious infection that can lead to death, particularly amongst the elderly, the very young, those who have an absent or non-functioning spleen, those with long term medical conditions*, or those with weakened immunity.”
SOURCE

However, the pneumococcal vaccination is USUALLY A SINGLE VACCINATION (ie once in your lifetime dose) for those at-risk. The most at risk group are children under age 2 years and adults over 65. Once you get it once you should be protected for the rest of your life. There are exceptions to this guideline so if you would like to know more ask your GP or visit http://pneumo.ie/

Type 1 Diabetes and Pregnant

I’m going to be an auntie again, after a 7 year gap in the birth of nephews and nieces. It’s going to happen any minute now. An-ny minute!!!

And like any good big sister I’ve been sharing valued advice about the last days of pregnancy. I’m sure it’s very welcome advice too:-D OMG, I can’t wait to kidnap babysit this small baby.

ONE MOMENT PLEASE! Sarah, please tell baby to get the head down, engage and one big whosh from in there:-)

WHERE WAS I? All this sisterly advice has prompted me to remember being pregnant myself all those years ago and what I wish I knew then. It’s also one of the questions most asked by young women with type 1 diabetes. In fact, I remembered being asked by two young women, separately, but during the same event. I’m only too happy to share this because I didn’t have anyone to ask before either of my pregnancies and I really wish I had.

These days, there are a couple of books written by women who have been there, namely “Balancing Pregnancy with Pre-existing Diabetes: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby” by Cheryl Alkon, and Diabetes Daily’s “Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes: Your Month-to-Month Guide” by Ginger Vieira and Jennifer Smith.

And there are a number of great blogs and private community groups on social media where you can have a chat to others; have a look at SixUntilMe, BelowSeven,
Diabetes Sisters Pregnancy Section, Diabetes Forecast’s Real Life Stories and the Facebook group – Type1 Diabetes, Conception, Pregnancy & Motherhood in Ireland.

What I remember most from both of my pregnancies;

Two days before the birth of my first baby. HUGE!
  • I felt like I was eating ALL. OF. THE. TIME.

– I would eat my meals, get full half way and then have to force the rest of it down because I had taken my insulin before I started eating. That eating for two stuff is pure nonsense – my stomach shrank! I could only eat small amounts at a time.

– Then I would have to eat In between meals to bring my blood glucose levels up from hypo levels.

  • I wish I had acted on my instinct to take half my meal bolus before eating and half after if I needed it. And I also wished I was using an insulin pump and not Multiple Daily Injections at that time so I could have adjusted my background insulin to avoid hypo snacks between meals.
  • The anxiety of of having a tiny developing human attached to your dysfunctional body and to deliver a healthy human.
  • Being very tired during my first pregnancy and napping a lot. I remember being totally exhausted and wiped out during my second pregnancy.
  • How different it was giving birth in an Irish hospital compared to an american hospital. In one hospital I was treated like a queen and my husband was included every step of the way. The other I felt like I was in the way and I had to insist that my husband not be forgotten about.
  • At my first prenatal appointment I was given a printout of all the appointments I would have over the pregnancy, what would be done at each appointment and why. It was awesome! It showed me that they had a procedure for high risk pregnancies. My second pregnancy felt a bit like my OBGYN was making it up as he went along and my Endo didn’t really want to be involved that much at all. I did refer to the print out during my second pregnancy but none of the tests were done of No. 2.
  • I did not have an insulin pump or cgm for either of my healthy pregnancies. So I remember checking my blood sugars A LOT!
  • There were lots of medical appointments but I didn’t mind. I had more ultrasounds that a “normal” pregnancy and that was a huge perk!
  • Both of my babes were born by elective caesarean because my doctors suspected that I was having large babies. Even so, my first birth was an amazing experience filled with joy and excitement.
  • My second birth was not so. I felt like I was just in the way; that the theatre staff were getting frustrated with me for just being there. Only for a really good anesthetist my son would have been whisked off for a 24 hour blood glucose observation without me being able to hold him. He suggested that I could nurse my son while I was in recovery rather than allowing that staff member to rush him off. That was the best.

Today, my oldest baby will be thirteen next month; Yikes! My youngest is 10. They are both healthy, beautiful and outstanding young people. Neither has diabetes and for this I am grateful.

For anyone who is starting on your journey towards starting a family; it’s so worth it!

Having a good and understanding medical team makes a huge difference in being able to cope with all of the anxiety of having a tiny developing human attached to you.

Ask lots of questions-your doctors and nurses have all done this numerous times but you haven’t. So it’s up to them to answer all of your questions with patience and kindness even if it’s the tenth time they’ve been asked that question that day. Maybe even preempt a couple of your questions.

And most importantly, do a pre-conception clinic to get your body ready for this amazing journey 😀

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