Diabetes UK is urging everyone with diabetes to take up the offer of a free a flu jab through their local pharmacy or GP.
Data from Public Health England estimates that fewer than half of the 6.4 million people aged 16-65 in high-risk groups – which includes people with diabetes – are getting their jab. This leaves millions at risk of developing serious complications.
Flu can cause blood sugar levels to rise high – a natural response to fighting infection. But a serious infection can cause blood sugar levels to rise so high that they become dangerous for people with diabetes. This can lead to acute complications, which can often go unrecognised and can even be fatal.
The vaccine, which every person with diabetes is entitled to free of charge, is the most effective protection against flu. Without it, flu can also develop into pneumonia or bronchitis, which might require hospital admission.
It can take up to two weeks for a flu jab to work. That’s why it’s essential that everyone at high risk of serious illness from flu gets vaccinated as soon as possible to eliminate the risk of life-threatening complications.
For more information about diabetes and flu, please visit the Diabetes UK website www.diabetes.org.uk/seasonal-flu
Diabetes UK South West Regional Head