FOR UK HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS ONLY

This section is intended for healthcare professionals and associated healthcare employees who are involved in patient care or service provision for influenza immunisation in the UK only – this includes (but is not limited to) GPs, nurses, practice managers, pharmacists, and pharmacy counter assistants.

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED HEALTHCARE EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED HEALTHCARE EMPLOYEE

Risks from flu in people with diabetes

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 and catch the flu, diabetes management may become more difficult1. 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 as soon as possible, ideally before the end of November, to ensure you’re protected right through the winter4.

 

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?

You may find you have higher blood sugar levels following vaccination4, 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 NHS flu vaccination* at your GP surgery or in a pharmacy, while most pharmacies in the UK also offer private jabs.

*Free NHS jabs are available only to those who fall within the current risk categories.

 

References

  1. Diabetes.co.uk. Flu and Diabetes. http://www.diabetes.co.uk/flu-and-diabetes.html (accessed July 2018)
  2. Public Health England. Immunisation against infectious disease: the green book. Chapter 19: Influenza, August 2018. Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/
    456568/2904394_Green_Book_Chapter_19_v10_0.pdf

    (accessed September 2018)
  3. World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal) Fact Sheet, January 2018. Available online: http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal) (accessed July 2018)
  4. Public Health England. National flu immunisation programme plan for 2018 to 2019. March 2018. Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-flu-immunisation-programme-plan (accessed July 2018)

 

Adverse Event Reporting

I AM A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE I AM NOT A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL OR ASSOCIATED EMPLOYEE