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Do you have chronic kidney disease? Get your flu jab!

Health leaders are reminding people with chronic kidney disease in south Staffordshire to have their free ‘flu jab if they haven’t already as winter begins to grip.

As Christmas creeps closer the ‘flu season begins to take hold - particularly when the temperature drops and winter illnesses start to circulate. This is why Stafford and Surrounds, Cannock Chase and South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula Clinical Commissioning Groups are calling on patients to take precautions.

Chronic 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.

If you suffer from an underlying health condition, you are more susceptible to ‘flu, and if you catch it you are more likely to die, according to the World Health Organisation 1. Therefore it is important to have the ‘flu jab as soon as you can.

The ‘flu jab is available from your GP and your local pharmacy. You will need to make an appointment, so be sure to call ahead.

Speaking on behalf of the CCGs, Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Chair at Stafford and Surrounds CCG, said: “If you suffer from chronic 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 chronic kidney disease puts you at high risk of infection, which is the second most common cause of death in chronic kidney disease patients. You can dramatically reduce this risk by having the ‘flu jab, and this will also reduce the likelihood of needing to go to hospital.

“My advice for anyone who has chronic kidney disease, or any underlying health condition, is to get your ‘flu jab now as it takes up to two weeks to take effect.”

The ‘flu vaccination is most effective when administered every year. ‘Flu strains can change and the jab is adjusted accordingly, meaning that last year’s jab may not be effective with this year’s ‘flu. You will not catch ‘flu from having the jab, as the vaccination does not contain a live virus.

For more information visit www.nhs.uk/staywell

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