World Diabetes Day (14 November 2015) is a timely reminder to all those with diabetes to protect themselves this winter with a free flu jab, say doctors in Birmingham.
Those with diabetes (types 1 and 2) have a hard time fighting flu if it’s caught. The virus can put added stress on the body affecting blood sugar levels. Even those that manage their diabetes well can be at risk of serious complications from flu resulting in hospitalisation, and in some cases it can be fatal.
In 2014, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK grew to more than 3.2 million1. This is the biggest increase in a single year since 2008. It’s likely we all know someone with diabetes who we want to be safe and well over winter.
Dr Andrew Coward, chair at Birmingham South Central Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Catching the flu can make diabetes worse because the immune system is less able to fight infections. This can make it harder to control your blood sugars, causing them to rise or fall and increases the chance of serious health problems, such as pneumonia.
“To be fully protected, you need to be vaccinated every year because the virus can change, and the previous year’s vaccine may not offer the right protection against the virus in circulation this year. The flu jab cannot give you flu as there are no live viruses in the vaccine.
“Despite there being speculation that flu wasn’t prevalent last year. Each year there is an average of around 8,000 per year2. I would urge all those with diabetes to get their flu jab now. It takes up to two weeks to take effect.”
Speak to your GP or practice nurse now to book an appointment for your free flu jab before the flu season starts.
For more information visit www.nhs.uk/staywell