Healthcare Professionals

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

Flu Risks And Stroke

If you have had a stroke, you are at increased risk of developing severe complications from flu, which can include a heart attack or another stroke1. This is because your heart is working harder to combat the flu virus and is under increased stress2,3.

So if you have had a stroke, or you are caring for someone who has, it is important to protect them from the risk of contracting flu.

Flu itself may also increase the risk of having a stroke in the first place4.

 

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.

Vaccination is the most effective way to avoid developing the flu5, and if you have have had a stroke, you are eligible for a free flu vaccination on the NHS. Get vaccinated early – from October to early November – to ensure you’re protected right through the winter.

Recent research has also suggested that you may be 24% less likely to experience a stroke if you receive a flu vaccination4.

Getting a flu vaccination doesn’t just help protect you, it can also help to prevent you spreading the flu to your spouse, children and grandchildren. If you have a carer or home help, it is worth asking them to get vaccinated too, as this will also reduce your risk of infection.

 

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.

 

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.

 

References

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu and Heart Disease & Stroke. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/heartdisease/ (accessed July 2017)

2. British Heart Foundation. Flu. https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/living-with-a-heart-condition/weather-and-your-heart/seasonal-influenza (accessed July 2017)

3. British Heart Foundation. Wise up to winter. https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/living-with-a-heart-condition/weather-and-your-heart/cold-weather (accessed July 2017)

4. Siriwardena AN et al. Influenza and pneumococcal vaccination and risk of stroke or transient ischemic attack – Matched case control study. Vaccine. 2014;32(12):1354-61

5.  World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal) Fact Sheet No. 211, November 2017. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/index.html (accessed July 2017)

 

Adverse Event Reporting

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