If you have a heart condition you have a greater risk of becoming more seriously ill from flu (seasonal influenza) than the general population. In addition, having the flu can exacerbate pre-existing conditions like diabetes or asthma.
According to the NHS, “every year over 11,000 people in England die from complications caused by the flu virus. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by having the flu vaccination.”
Preventing the flu in the first place is the best option.
The best protection is to have a Flu Vaccine each winter.
What is the flu?
Many people think having influenza, also known as the flu, is like having a bad cold, but in reality flu is a nasty respiratory virus that can make you very unwell. Influenza causes inflammation in the body and can be very serious – sometimes leading to hospitalisation or even death.
There is evidence that heart attacks happen more often during or immediately after an acute inflammatory illness, such as flu.
A flu jab is the best protection against flu.
In general, the flu causes stress and inflammation on the body, increasing blood pressure, heart rate and heart function. This is not good for someone with heart or circulatory problems.
Flu vaccination is strongly recommended for anyone who has ever had a heart attack, stroke or has underlying heart disease. A previous diagnosis of heart or circulatory diseases is considered a high risk factor for complications or even another heart attack, for anyone who becomes ill with flu.
Does flu affect heart medication?
If you take warfarin, flu symptoms can affect your blood clotting rate (INR). You should speak to your doctor if this happens so they can monitor your situation closely. It does also mean if you do become unwell, it may take you longer to recover than the average person.
In addition, some over-the-counter flu medicines can’t be used when taking medicines for heart conditions, so contact your doctor before taking things like painkillers and cough medicines. It is better to check before beginning any new medications.
When is the best time to get the flu jab?
Flu vaccinations become available from mid to late September, and through the season until February. It’s best to get your flu vaccine in September or October. The peak time for catching flu runs from Christmas to Easter. The aim is to be vaccinated before flu transmission starts, and to allow at least a couple of weeks post-vaccination, for maximum immunity to develop. The sooner you have the vaccination, the sooner you will be protected.
We have a range of flu vaccinations available, including the premium recombinant vaccine, cell-based vaccine, FluAd (for those aged 65 year and older), kids nasal spray and the standard flu jab.
It is important to have a flu jab every year because the flu virus can change. There are many strains of flu already and some are more dominant than others. Each year strains are analysed to determine which strains are likely to be the prevalent strains circulating that year. They can vary year to year so relying on a past vaccination for protection is risky. The previous year’s vaccine may not offer you the right protection against the strains in circulation this year.
In addition, immunity to flu decreases over time. Exposure to the flu virus strengthens the immune response and offers natural protection. With less flu circulating over the past few years due to covid restriction measures, natural immunity in the general population will have decreased.
A flu vaccine will boost immunity.
With most workers now returned to the office and social distancing restrictions long gone, there is a greater chance of the flu spreading and more people falling ill this winter. With both illnesses circulating around it is highly recommended to reduce the risk by getting the flu jab.
Protect yourself against the flu.
You can find more information on the types of flu vaccines available.
For more information on the premium recombinant flu jab.
Wanting to book a Workplace Flu Vaccination Programme?
Flujabs.org is part of Fleet Street Clinic and has been providing workplace flu vaccinations to UK businesses for many years.
Fill out the online form and one of our flu coordinators will get back to you with current availability and costs.
In July this year, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issued a warning that, unless vaccination rates improve, London is at risk of a major measles outbreak.
Current MMR vaccine coverage is the lowest it has been in a decade, with about ten per cent of children not protected from measles by the time they start school. It is predicted that in some areas of the capital, this figure is as high as forty per cent. Young adults between the ages of nineteen and twenty-five are also particularly vulnerable. Referred to as the ‘Wakefield cohorts’ by UKHSA, this generation were exposed to misinformation published in the early 2000s and as a result, many were left unvaccinated.
In a bid to mitigate risk, councils have written to households across the capital explaining the possibility of isolation requirements; Children who are identified as close contacts of a measles case, and who do not have an up-to-date vaccination record, may be required to self-isolate for up to twenty-one days. The NHS are therefore urging parents to check their children’s’ vaccination status. Records of their vaccines should be kept at their GP practice, or in their red book.
How many vaccines are needed?
Two doses of the MMR vaccine will provide lifetime immunity. In the UK, these are normally given to a child around their first birthday. The second is normally given at around the age of three and a half. If there is a risk of an outbreak, vaccines are sometimes given early.
Should adults be worried?
Adults are also encouraged to check their vaccination status. In the first instance, in case of any doubt, you should call your GP for confirmation. Alternatively, if you are unable to find your records, a simple blood test will be able to confirm if you are immune or not. If you were born before 1970, it is assumed you will be immune through natural infection with the disease.
Can adults receive the vaccine?
Yes. If you are unsure of your vaccination status, we would recommend a blood test to check your antibody level first. If we discover that you are not immune, you will require two vaccine doses, given a month apart.
RELATED SERVICES AVAILABLE AT FLEET ST. CLINIC
CONTINUED READING ABOUT THE UK HEALTH SECURITY AGENCY (UKHSA) “Isolation warning for London children without measles jab”
Some infections can harm your baby if you catch them during pregnancy. Research suggests that the flu, in particular strains such as H1N1 (swine flu), can significantly increase the risk of complications to expecting mothers and their unborn babies.
Vaccinating expecting mothers against flu or before pregnancy can provide the newborn baby with significant ‘passive’ protection – which can last several weeks after birth. This is important because babies cannot be vaccinated themselves until they are 6 months old. So, a mother’s vaccination is strongly advised.
Fleet Street Clinic are urging all the mums-to-be to have the vaccine. The Quadrivalent Flu Jab can be safely given at any point during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are less able to fight off infections and therefore more likely to be seriously ill if they contract the flu virus. Pregnant women are at risk of complications from the flu at any stage of pregnancy. So therefore, it is important for those expecting to get their flu jab as early as possible.
If you are currently planning your pregnancy, it would be sensible to consider getting your flu jab prior to becoming pregnant.
The flu vaccine can safely be given to pregnant women at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine. You can have the whooping cough vaccine from 16 weeks onwards.
The vaccine is inactivated, and cannot cause flu itself.
Having the flu vaccine is the best protection.
If you are interested in booking flu vaccinations for your staff, visit flujabs.org for more information and to get a quote.
STUDENTS URGED TO GET VACCINATED BEFORE UNIVERSITY
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), formerly known as Public Health England, is encouraging students to get vaccinated before they start/ return to University to protect themselves against a range of life-threatening illnesses.
Starting university and attending Fresher’s Week exposes students to a host of viruses and bacteria – some of which for the first time.
First year or returning students can be at increased risk of serious diseases such as meningitis, septicaemia and measles as they mix with large numbers of other students from around the country and overseas.
We strongly advise the following 3 vaccinations at a minimum for students:
– Protects against 4 common strains causing meningitis and septicaemia
– Protects against measles, mumps, rubella
– Protects against HPV-related cancers including cervical, penile & throat cancers, alongside protection against genital warts. HPV vaccination is estimated to prevent up to 90% of HPV-related cancers.
– Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY)
– Meningococcal B (MenB)
UKHSA vaccine coverage data shows around 1 in 8 new students going to college and university this year remain unprotected against these 4 strains of meningococcal bacteria, each of which can cause long term disability, serious health complications and can be life threatening.
The MenACWY vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm and protects against four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia): A, C, W, and Y. You can book online.
The MenB vaccine is also given as an injection to the upper arm but is a 2-dose course for full protection. It protects agains the B-strain of the meningococcal bacteria. You can book online.
Cases of meningitis, particularly virulent strain Men W & Men B, have been rapidly rising amongst students since 2009.
What is Meningitis W?
Meningitis is a bacterial infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Meningococcal meningitis (Men W) is a highly serious form of bacterial meningitis that can lead to septicaemia. It is spread by droplets that come from a person who is infected with the bacteria.
Although the strain is most likely to affect babies, statistics reveal that older children, teenagers, and adults are also at risk. In recent times, cases amongst normally healthy teenagers have spiked and the fatality percentage is higher with Meningitis W than it is with the most common strains, Meningitis B and C.
Meningitis can progress quickly leading to blood poisoning (sepsis), which can kill within 24 hours. So, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia (sepsis).
Early symptoms of Meningitis include:
- a high temperature (fever)
- being sick (vomiting)
- a rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it (but a rash will not always develop)
- a stiff neck
- a dislike of bright lights
- cold feet and hands
- or muscular pain
Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. It happens when your immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage your body’s own tissues and organs. Symptoms can be vague but include:
- acting confused, slurred speech or not making sense
- blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
- a rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it, the same as meningitis
- difficulty breathing, breathlessness or breathing very fast
Many people confuse the symptoms with just a hangover or freshers’ flu, which is one of the theories as to why students are so high-risk. So, check-in on your friends who are unwell. Symptoms can progress rapidly so urgent action in getting medical attention is critical – call NHS 111 straight away
Protection against this strain of Meningitis W is provided through the Meningitis ACWY vaccine. Only one dose is required.
We also carry an excellent stock of the Meningitis B vaccine and can provide both vaccinations at the same time should you require it.
Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Vaccination
Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection which is spread in the same way as the flu. Coughing, sneezing and kissing can rapidly spread the infection, especially in the close quarters of student accommodation.
Measles is a very infectious viral infection which is also spread by coughing and sneezing. There have been multiple outbreaks of Measles around the world including the UK this year, so it’s important to make sure you are protected as you socialise with new peers.
Both Mumps and Measles can be prevented by safe and effective vaccination, MMR.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination
HPV is a common virus that is passed on via genital contact. There are more than 100 HPV types which infect genital areas. Sometimes they cause no harm and the infection can go away on its own. However, the virus can persist and cause cells to change which can lead to some forms of cancers; cervical, head, neck & throat or genital warts. More information on HPV can be found here.
The HPV vaccine is offered at our clinic for girls and boys to protect against HPV-related cancers and genital warts. Book your HPV vaccination appointment online
Other vaccinations that we recommend for students starting/ returning to University are:
Every year different flu strains circulate and infect millions of people. Being exposed to a new pool of infections in University accommodation can increase the risk of catching the flu. Having the flu jab before you go to University will help protect you against the flu and stop you getting sick.
Flu jabs become available from 3rd September and can be booked online.
If you are from outside the UK, you should be vaccinated against tuberculosis (TB) before you enter the UK. A weakened strain of tuberculosis, the BCG Vaccine, is injected to protect against the infection. Those unsure of their immunity can have a simple Mantoux test to confirm.
Tetanus is a rare condition caused by bacteria entering a wound. We recommend making sure you are up to date with your DTP vaccinations and boosters before leaving for university. This vaccine protects against tetanus as well as Diptheria and Polio. Don’t let a cut or burn ruin your freshers week.
Wellness VACCINATIONS AT FLEET STREET CLINIC
Fleet Street Clinic offers a friendly environment and a team of experienced medics to administer all wellness vaccinations. We meet rigorous quality management standards to ensure we offer you the highest standards of clinical care: you can feel confident you are in safe hands.
Secure your peace of mind by ensuring you are protected. Get your vaccines before university starts to receive protection in time.
For the full The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) statement, click here.