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Kidney disease or long-term health condition? Get flu protected

As Christmas approaches, the flu season begins to take hold, particularly when the temperature drops and winter illnesses circulate.  That’s why GPs at NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups are reminding those with kidney disease and other long-term health conditions to have their free flu vaccination, if they haven’t already.

If you suffer from an underlying health condition, you are more susceptible to flu, and if you catch it you are more likely to be admitted to hospital, so it is important to have the flu vaccination as soon as you can. 

Please don’t add to the winter pressures facing your local hospital – get a flu vaccination.

Kidney disease covers a range of conditions and those with more severe stages, such as nephrotic syndrome or a kidney transplant, are eligible for a flu vaccination. If you think you have an undiagnosed medical condition affecting your kidneys, you should talk to your GP or practice nurse to find out if you need a flu vaccination.

The flu vaccination is available from your GP practice and you will need to make an appointment so be sure to call ahead.
Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of NHS West Suffolk CCG explains: “If you suffer from kidney disease, you are more susceptible to flu and infections such as pneumonia. This is because your immune system is less effective. The best protection we have against the flu is the vaccination.

“Many people think that the flu is like a bad cold, however it is a respiratory virus which can make you very unwell. Having kidney disease puts you at high risk of infection, which is the second most common cause of death in kidney disease patients. You can dramatically reduce this risk by having the flu vaccination."

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG says: “My advice for anyone who has kidney disease, or any underlying health condition, is to get your flu vaccination now as it takes up to two weeks to take effect. By getting a flu vaccination you can help protect your health and avoid being admitted to your local hospital.
“The flu vaccination is most effective when administered every year. Flu strains can change and the vaccination is adjusted accordingly, meaning that last year’s vaccination may not be effective with this year’s flu. Please support your local hospital and the NHS this winter by getting flu protected.”

Flu vaccinations are offered free of charge to the following ‘at-risk’ groups:

  • all children aged two to seven (but not eight years or older) on 31 August 2016
  • those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
  • chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, -chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease at stage three, four or 5
  • chronic liver disease
  • chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease or motor -neurone disease
  • diabetes
  • splenic dysfunction
  • a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)
  • pregnant women
  • those aged 65 years and over
  • those in long-stay residential care homes
  • carers 

For more information visit www.nhs.uk/staywell 

Issued by The Communications Team on 01473 770014

NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group – www.ipswichandeastsuffolkccg.nhs.uk

NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group – www.westsuffolkccg.nhs.uk

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