Flu immunisation clinics are now well under way in GP surgeries and people with diabetes, along with those aged 65 and over and pregnant women, are among the priority groups for the free immunisation.
Dr Irfan Ghani, Shropshire County PCT’s Consultant in Public Health, 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.
“This can be prevented by having the immunisation, which is being provided free at GP surgeries across Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin for people most at risk.”
Leading health charity Diabetes UK is also encouraging people with diabetes to get the flu immunisation.
Cathy Moulton, Diabetes UK Clinical Advisor, said:
“People with diabetes are a high-risk group when it comes to getting flu, so it is crucial that they are vaccinated as soon as possible this winter.
“Having flu can really upset diabetes control and cause blood glucose levels to fluctuate. This can leave people with diabetes open to many health problems, including complications of flu such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
“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.”
More information on flu immunisations is available at www.nhs.uk/flu.
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There are additional ways people can protect themselves and those around them. Good hand hygiene – the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ technique – reduces the spread of germs. This means carrying tissues, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, disposing of the tissue after one use, and cleaning hands as soon as possible with soap and water or an alcohol hand gel.