Published on 23 September 2015

Reminder for people with diabetes to book their annual flu vaccination.

Influenza is an acute viral infection of the respiratory tract. There are three types of influenza virus: A, B and C. Influenza A and influenza B are responsible for most clinical illness. The disease is characterised by the sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, myalgia and extreme fatigue. Other common symptoms include a dry cough, sore throat and stuffy nose.

The risk of serious illness from influenza is higher among children under six months of age, those aged over 65 and those with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, respiratory disease, cardiac disease or immunosuppression, and pregnant women.

Flu also contributes to the problems associated with high demand on NHS services during the winter months. It impacts on the NHS services that provide direct care as a result, and on the wider health and social care system that supports people in at risk groups.

Avoid flu this winter by getting vaccinated

Despite continued efforts over a number of years, it is still the case that only around half the patients in clinical risk groups have their flu vaccination.

Increasing uptake is important because of the increased risk that people in clinical risk groups (including diabetes) are at from the effects of flu.

GP practices and other providers should prioritise the improvement of vaccine uptake in those with diabetes, chronic liver disease and neurological disease, including those with learning disabilities, who are at the highest risk of mortality from flu but have the lowest rate of vaccine uptake.

In certain groups and individuals, flu can progress from a mild flu-like illness manifesting as fever, cough, sore throat, headache, malaise, and muscle and joint pains to one in which there is shortness of breath, chest pain or confusion, indicative of pneumonia, and/or a significant exacerbation of an underlying medical condition (such as heart, liver, lung or renal insufficiency or diabetes mellitus). Patients presenting with these symptoms will usually need assessment and treatment in hospital.

Contact your GP to arrange a flu vaccination

All patients at risk are eligible for vaccination at their GP practice.

With the introduction of the Advanced Pharmacy Flu Service those aged over 18 can also get vaccinated at participating pharmacies.

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