Diabetes UK are calling for everyone with diabetes, including those who are pregnant, to have a flu vaccination this winter as illnesses like the flu can be more severe for people with diabetes.
Current figures (1) show almost a quarter (24%) of people with diabetes did not have a flu vaccination in England last winter, despite it being free to everyone with the condition.
Flu can be serious for people with diabetes and can make it harder to manage the condition, as it can destabilise blood sugar levels. This can in turn increase the risk of developing serious complications, such as amputations, stroke and kidney disease.
Peter Shorrick, Diabetes UK Midlands Regional Head, said: “It is essential everyone with diabetes has the flu jab this winter. People with diabetes are at a greater risk of the flu and this can lead to more severe illnesses, such as pneumonia.
“Illnesses like the flu are serious for people with diabetes, if you have any concerns about having the vaccination then please speak to your GP or healthcare professional.”
The flu jab is one of 15 healthcare essentials that every person with diabetes is entitled to through the NHS every year. These include having your blood pressure measured, having your eyes screened for signs of retinopathy (disease) and having your feet and legs checked.
Each year the NHS prepares for the unpredictability of the flu as the influenza virus can change rapidly year-on-year. They recommend that everyone who is eligible for the flu jab gets vaccinated as soon as possible to avoid getting the illness.
Diabetes UK has put together a guide to help people with diabetes avoid the flu, as part of Public Health England’s Stay Well This Winter Campaign.
For more information about diabetes and flu, please visit our website www.diabetes.org.uk/seasonal-flu