Help Us Help You This Winter By Getting Your Flu Jab

Don’t put off getting the flu vaccination. It’s free because you need it.

Why is the flu vaccination important for people with long term conditions?

Flu on top of any long-term condition can easily develop into something very serious, and you could end up in hospital.

You are eligible for flu if you have the following conditions:

Heart Disease

Liver Disease

Kidney Disease

Diabetes

Lowered immunity as a result of disease or medical treatment, such as steroid medication or cancer treatment

A neurological condition such as Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, motor neurone disease or a learning disability

A problem with your spleen, including sickle cell disease or if you’ve had your spleen removed

A BMI of 40 or above (Seriously overweight)

If you are treated for any of the above conditions contracting the Flu can have serious implications:

Heart Disease

People with heart disease, or those who have had a stroke, have a higher risk of serious medical complications from flu, including worsening of their heart disease.

Lung Disease

People with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, emphysema or other conditions that affect the lungs have a higher risk of complications from flu, even if the condition is mild and symptoms are controlled. Complications include pneumonia, heart failure and exacerbation of respiratory symptoms.

Having a respiratory illness causes your airways to become swollen and sensitive to your triggers. Getting the flu causes more swelling and make your airways even more sensitive. This can make your asthma symptoms worse and increase your risk of an asthma attack.

Diabetes

Winter conditions can be very bad for your health, especially if you’re living with diabetes as the risk of hospitalisation can be as much as ten times higher than the rest of the population.

With flu, your blood sugar levels are affected and it becomes difficult to keep it under control. Resistance to fast-acting insulin is a frequent effect of influenza infection.

Liver Disease

The flu vaccine is especially critical for people with an underlying health condition such as liver disease. Having liver disease can limit the types of drugs you can have to help treat the flu virus and any complications if contracted. It may mean spending time in hospital and taking a long time to recover from the effects of the treatment and the virus.

People living with liver conditions are urged to speak to their GP about the annual flu jab to reduce the risk of complications of the virus this winter.

Chronic Neurological Disease

If you have a chronic neurological disease, or you care for someone who has, you need to keep a close eye on your or their overall health and wellbeing. This includes avoiding infections such as flu, which can have serious complications for people with neurological diseases such as:

• Cerebral Palsy
• Motor Neurone Disease
• Parkinson’s Disease
• Wilson’s Disease
• Huntington’s Disease
• Multiple Sclerosis

Some neurological diseases affect your lungs and make breathing difficult. Neurological diseases can make it difficult to regulate your body temperature.

If you catch flu, you are likely to develop a fever, which can make your symptoms worse. For example, one third of people with relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis will experience a relapse within 6 weeks of having flu.

Some people with neurological diseases find communication difficult, and you might have problems telling the people who care for you if you start to feel very ill. This could delay getting treatment and make your symptoms worse.

Asplenia

The spleen helps to protect the body against infections. If you don’t have a fully working spleen, you’ll still be able to cope with most infections but, in some cases, serious infection may develop quickly. The flu vaccine helps reduce your risk of developing complications such as a secondary lung infection or pneumonia.

Kidney Disease

Patients with chronic long-term illnesses, including kidney disease, are at least 11 times more likely to die if they get the flu than people not in at risk groups. People with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) are at a higher increase risk of infection as CKD can reduce your body’s natural responses to infection, making it much harder to fight to fight off.

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