Get protected from flu now if you have a long-term
health condition
The NHS in the Sussex is reminding people with long-term conditions that this year
it’s more important than ever for them to have their free flu vaccination.
Research shows that if people get flu and coronavirus at the same time, they are more
likely to be seriously ill or be admitted to hospital.


Catching flu is more serious for those with a long-term health condition. It can make
the effects of their existing condition worse and can cause series complications. Long
term health conditions which can cause issues alongside flu include diabetes, a long
term respiratory, heart, kidney, liver or neurological condition, a weakened immune
system and obesity.
An average of 11,000 deaths occur annually due to flu-related complications. Of these
deaths, many were in people with underlying conditions.
Flu is a highly infectious illness which spreads rapidly, even people with mild or no
symptoms can infect others. If someone has a long-term condition, they're more
vulnerable to the effects and could suffer more than most people if they catch it.
People with chronic heart disease are approximately 11 times more likely to die if they
catch flu than individuals who have no other underlying health condition.
Allison Cannon, Chief Nurse Officer for Sussex NHS commissioners said:
“If you have a long-term health condition it is really important you have your free flu
vaccination to protect yourself from the flu virus.
“Long term health conditions include the following; diabetes, a long term respiratory,
heart, kidney, liver or neurological condition, are immunosuppressed, morbidly obese
or have problems with your spleen.
“There is a risk of serious complications from flu, like pneumonia, and end up in
hospital. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the flu.
“GP practices and pharmacies have worked hard to put social distancing and other
measures in place so you can have the flu vaccination in a safe environment.”
People with a long-term health condition should have received a letter to invite them
for their flu vaccination and can speak to their GP to arrange an appointment.

The flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS to anyone with a serious long-term health
condition, including:
 respiratory conditions, such as asthma (needing steroid inhaler or tablets), chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and bronchitis
 diabetes
 heart conditions, such as coronary heart disease or heart failure
 being very overweight – a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above
 chronic kidney disease
 liver disease, such as hepatitis
 neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone
disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
 a learning disability
 problems with your spleen, for example, sickle cell disease, or if you have had your
spleen removed
 a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or
taking medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
All children who have long-term health conditions should be offered flu vaccination
from the age of six months.
Chronic liver disease can affect the immune system and therefore people with this
condition may be less able to fight off flu. Those with chronic liver disease are
approximately 48 times more likely to die if they develop flu than individuals who
have no other underlying health condition.
Chronic respiratory diseases make people more susceptible to the flu virus
damaging their lungs. They are seven times more likely to die from flu than
individuals without an underlying health condition.
Chronic renal disease can affect the immune system and therefore people with this
condition may be less able to fight off flu. Those with chronic renal disease are
approximately 19 times more likely to die if they catch flu than individuals who have
no other underlying health condition.

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