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 With Chronic Respiratory disease

If you have any kind of chronic respiratory disease, avoiding all infections that could worsen your symptoms or make breathing more difficult is important, and this includes the flu.

Flu can also worsen your condition and symptoms1 and lead to hospitalisation. People with chronic respiratory disease account for around 17% of deaths from flu each year2.

These respiratory diseases include (amongst others)3:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Emphysema
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Interstitial lung fibrosis
  • Pneumoconiosis
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)

 

Help to protect 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 flu4, and if you have chronic respiratory disease, you are eligible for a free flu vaccination on the NHS as you are classified at high risk of complications5. Get vaccinated early – from October to early November – to ensure you’re protected right through the winter.

A small study in patients with COPD suggests that flu vaccination may reduce both outpatient visits and hospitalisation caused by acute respiratory infection6.

 

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. People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm (accessed July 2017)

2. Department of Health. An Outcomes Strategy for COPD and Asthma: NHS Companion Document.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/216531/dh_134001.pdf (accessed July 2017)

3. NHS UK – Who should have the flu jab. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/pages/who-should-have-flu-vaccine.aspx (accessed July 2017)

4. World Health Organization. Influenza (Seasonal) Fact Sheet No. 211, November 2016. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs211/en/index.html (accessed July 2017)

5. Public Health England. National flu immunisation programme plan for 2017 to 2018. March 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-flu-immunisation-programme-plan (accessed July 2017)

6. Menon B et al. Comparison of outpatient visits and hospitalisations in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, before and after influenza vaccination. International Journal of Clinical Practice. 2008;62:593-98.

 

Adverse Event Reporting

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