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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
If you suffer from chronic liver conditions or liver disease, you will probably already have had to make changes to your lifestyle to try and stay as healthy as possible – as this includes avoiding the flu.
Many people think of flu as just a bad cold, but if you have liver disease, it could make you seriously ill. You are particularly at risk of flu developing into something more serious, such as bronchitis or pneumonia1.
Having liver disease weakens your immune system’s ability to fight off the flu virus in the first place2 and it may limit the type of medications you can take for cold and flu symptoms3.
But even more seriously, having flu can also actually make liver diseases such as cirrhosis worse3, or even increase the rate of rejection and drug toxicity if you have had a liver transplant3. So it’s really important to do everything you can to stay healthy.
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, as this is when you are most vulnerable.
Get vaccinated early – from October to early November – to ensure you’re protected right through the winter. Patients most at risk include those waiting for a liver transplant or those who have cirrhosis3.
Other ways to avoid infection
To avoid infections, 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.
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. British liver trust. Get the flu jab. https://www.britishlivertrust.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/get-the-jab/ (accessed July 2017)
2. You, Liver Disease and the Flu. https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2448.pdf(accessed August 2016) (accessed July 2017)
3. Flu Vaccinations and Chronic Liver Disease. http://psnc.org.uk/avon-lpc/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2015/07/Liver-Disease-and-Flu-Vaccine-Importance.pdf (accessed July 2017)