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It's World Diabetes Day - if you have diabetes make time for your flu jab

World Diabetes Day on 14 November 2015 is a timely reminder to all those with diabetes to protect themselves this winter with a free flu jab say doctors at NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group.

Those with diabetes (types 1 and 2) have a hard time fighting flu if it’s caught. The virus can put added stress on the body, affecting blood sugar levels. Even those who manage their diabetes well can be at risk of serious complications from flu, resulting in hospitalisation, and in some cases it can be fatal.

In 2014, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK grew to more than 3.2 million. This is the biggest increase in a single year since 2008. It’s very likely we all know someone with diabetes who we want to be safe and well over winter.

Dr Manik Arora, the CCG’s clinical lead for long-term conditions and a GP at the Rivergreen Medical Centre, said: “Catching the flu can make diabetes worse because the immune system is less able to fight infections. This can make it harder to control your blood sugars, causing them to rise or fall, and increases the risk of serious health problems.

“To be fully protected, you need to be vaccinated every year because the virus can change, and the previous year’s vaccine may not offer the right protection against the virus in circulation this year. People need to remember that the flu jab cannot give you flu as there are no live viruses in the vaccine.

“Despite there being speculation that flu wasn’t prevalent last year, each year there are on average around 8,000 deaths attributable to flu. I would urge all those with diabetes to get their flu jab as soon as possible as it can take up to two weeks to take effect.

“In the long run I would also recommend that every person with diabetes takes control by signing up to a diabetes education program such as Juggle, DAFNE or T2ONIC. Speak to your diabetes nurse or practice nurse for further details on how to access these services.”

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Published: 13 November 2015