Take up your free offer of a flu jab

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As flu season approaches Diabetes UK is recommending that everyone with diabetes takes up the offer of a free flu jab from their GP.

People with diabetes are considered a ‘high-risk group’ when it comes to getting flu. This is because they are at particular risk of severe illness if they catch flu as it can really upset diabetes control and cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate, even if they usually manage their diabetes well and lead otherwise healthy lives.

The consequences of having the flu can be serious and the virus remains highly unpredictable. Not having the vaccination may mean they are less able to fight off the infection leaving them open to many health problems, including complications of flu such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

Yet nearly a third of people with diabetes under the age of 65 did not get the jab last year despite the fact 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.

Last winter, the number of admissions to hospital and intensive care for illness caused by flu were higher than previous years.

So if you have diabetes, please ensure that you take up the offer of the free flu jab from your GP. If you haven’t been invited yet contact your GP surgery to find out when they are holding flu vaccination clinics.

Stephen Ryan

Regional manager, north of England, Diabetes UK