If you have diabetes, liver or kidney problems, get flu safe

By on 18/11/2013 in News

Health officials in Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country are urging those with diabetes, liver or kidney conditions to protect themselves and get their seasonal flu vaccination as soon as possible.

Flu jab clinics are now well underway in GP surgeries, and people with diabetes, liver or kidney problems are among the priority groups for the free vaccine.

Nicola Benge, Public Health Consultant for NHS England in Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country, said: “People should not underestimate the effects of seasonal flu. It is not the same as getting a cold. It can seriously affect your health and the risks of developing complications are greater if you have certain pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, liver or kidney conditions.

“This can be prevented by having the vaccine, which is being provided free at GP surgeries across Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country for people most at risk.”

“If you haven't already been invited for a free flu jab, contact your GP surgery to find out when they are holding clinics and make sure you look after yourself during the cold weather.”

Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Steve Bedser, said: “Flu is not like a cold - it can be a really serious illness for some people and it doesn't just affect older people.

“Flu can knock you off your feet and make it hard to look after the children or go to work. In the most severe cases, seasonal flu might land you in hospital - it can even be a killer. So the simple message for anyone at risk in Birmingham is get your flu jab now.

“If you're in any of the 'at risk' groups, the flu jab is completely free and is a safe way of protecting you and your family in a matter of minutes.”

Director of Public Health, Dr Adrian Phillips, added: “Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse.

“The best time to be vaccinated is at the start of the flu season from September to early November, so it's good to get in early and get flu safe in time for the winter.

“Simply contact your GP to arrange a convenient appointment and get your jab. It's quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus.”

For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk/flu


Note to editors

NHS England (formerly known as the NHS Commissioning Board) is the new body which leads the NHS in England. Its main aim is to improve the health outcomes for people in England, and it will set the overall direction and priorities for the NHS as a whole.

On 1 April 2013, the Area Teams of NHS England took over responsibility for commissioning local primary care services such as pharmacies, GP surgeries, dental practices and opticians.

Flu vaccinations are currently offered free of charge to the following 'at risk' groups:

  • people aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2013).
  • all pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season).
  • children aged 2-3, who are eligible for a free nasal flu vaccination
  • people with a serious medical condition such as

i. chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis

ii. chronic heart disease, such as heart failure

iii. chronic kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5

iv. chronic liver disease

v. chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease

vi. diabetes

vii. a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)

  • people living in long stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality. This does not include, for instance, prisons, young offender institutions, or university halls of residence
  • people who are in receipt of a carer's allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill

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