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WHERE CAN I GET A FLU JAB?
This section is intended for healthcare professionals and associated healthcare employees in the UK only – this includes GPs, nurses, practice managers, GP practice administration support, pharmacists and pharmacy counter assistants.
If you are not a healthcare professional or healthcare employee, you should not enter this section – information regarding flu can be found on the main website.I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE
While catching flu is never a pleasant experience, it can have more serious implications if you have a condition such as diabetes.
If you have diabetes you are at greater risk of catching flu, as having diabetes makes it harder for your body to fight off the virus1. This applies to all types of diabetes (Type 1, Type 2 and diet-controlled diabetes)2.
You are also at greater risk of developing complications such as pneumonia, as your body is under increased stress1. And for people with diabetes, having flu can also affect your blood sugar levels, increasing your risk of developing short-term complications such as ketoacidosis and hyperglycaemia1. So it’s important to test your blood sugar more regularly than normal if you do get flu1.
Flu medications and diabetes
If you catch or develop flu, it’s also worth considering that some over-the-counter medications contain high levels of sugar, which could affect your blood sugar management1. Your pharmacist will be able to advise you on which medications you should or shouldn’t take.
Protecting yourself from flu
The flu viruses predominantly circulate during the winter. So you should think about how to help protect yourself as the flu season approaches.
Vaccination is the most effective way to avoid developing the flu3, and if you have diabetes, you are eligible for a free flu vaccination on the NHS.
Get vaccinated early – from October to early November – to ensure you’re protected right through the winter.
Other ways to avoid infection
You can also take additional steps, such as avoiding public transport and crowds. However, if you’re unable to avoid public transport (for example, if you need to get to hospital for treatment or an appointment), wash your hands after every trip, use the antiseptic hand gel dispensers in the hospital regularly, cover your nose and mouth if you sneeze or cough, and dispose of any used tissues as quickly as possible.
Will a flu vaccination affect my blood sugar levels?
Your blood sugar levels may fluctuate as your body produces antibodies to fight flu1. You may find you have higher glucose levels than normal1, so make sure you test your blood regularly after your vaccination. If your blood sugar levels remain consistently high after a few days, you should contact your doctor or other healthcare professional.
You can get your free flu vaccination* at your GP surgery or in a pharmacy. Most pharmacies in the UK now offer both the NHS free flu jab as well as a private jab. This might be a more convenient option for you. Enter your postcode in the search box above to find your nearest local flu clinic.
*Free NHS jabs are available only to those who fall within the current risk categories.
1. Diabetes.co.uk. Flu and Diabetes. http://www.diabetes.co.uk/flu-and-diabetes.html (accessed July 2017)
2. Public Health England. The Geen Book. Chapter 19. Influenza. August 2015. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file
/456568/2904394_Green_Book_Chapter_19_v10_0.pdf (accessed July 2017)
3. World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal) Fact Sheet No. 211. November 2016.
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/ (accessed July 2017)