As flu season approaches Diabetes UK is recommending that everyone with diabetes takes up the offer of a free flu jab from their GP.
'High risk group'
If you have diabetes you are categorised as being in a ‘high-risk group’ when it comes to getting flu. This is because people with diabetes are at particular risk of severe illness if they catch flu. It can really upset diabetes control and cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate, even if the person with diabetes usually manages their condition well and leads an otherwise healthy life.The consequences of having the flu can be serious and the virus remains highly unpredictable. Not having the vaccination may mean you are less able to fight off the infection leaving you open to many health problems, including complications of flu such as pneumonia and bronchitis.We know that people with diabetes are approximately six times more likely to die if they develop flu than individuals who have no other underlying health condition.Yet nearly a third of people with diabetes under the age of 65 did not get the jab last year. If you are 65 or over you will automatically be invited to receive the vaccination.Last winter, the number of admissions to hospital and intensive care for illness caused by flu were higher than seen in the previous few years.
Effective in preventing flu
The strains of flu selected for the vaccine are reviewed every year by the World Health Organisation and throughout the last decade have generally been effective in preventing flu in people who have the vaccination.The vaccine still provides the best protection available to help protect people at risk from flu. Diabetes UK is urging all people with diabetes to take up the offer of the free flu jab from their GP. If you haven’t already been invited for a free flu jab, please take the time to contact your GP surgery to find out when they are holding flu vaccination clinics.