LTC patients urged to take care of themselves this winter

People with long term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD are being urged by South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group to protect themselves from the Flu this winter.

It comes as figures show that only as little as only half of those who are eligible but in the greater risk category are vaccinated from the virus in Lincolnshire.

People with long term health conditions are eligible for a free flu vaccination. The flu vaccination is important for those with a long-term health condition, even if well managed, because of the increased risk of complications and even death as a result of flu.

15.4million people, over a quarter of the UK population, have a long-term health condition

Just over half of those with long-term health conditions took up the offer of the free vaccination last flu season (2013/14), there are a total of 15.4 million people in this group eligible for the vaccination and therefore protection from flu each year

In South Lincolnshire, only around 8740 of the 15496 eligible 16 to 65 year olds had been vaccinated against flu between September 2013 and January 2014 – just 56% compared with as much as 75% of over 65 years olds who are all eligible for
the free vaccination.

People at risk are:
• Those aged 65 and over
• Those aged six months to under 65 in clinical risk groups (with a long-term health condition)
• Pregnant women
• All 2,3 and 4 year olds
• School-aged children in pilot areas
• Those in long-stay residential care homes
• Carers

Long term conditions include the following types of illnesses: chronic (long term) respiratory disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis, chronic heart disease, such as heart failure, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis, chronic neurological conditions such as

Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease, diabetes, people with problems with their spleen – for example, sickle cell disease, or have had their spleen removed, people with a weakened immune system due to conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or as a result of medication such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy.

Dr Miles Langdon, Chair of NHS South Lincolnshire CCG, said:

“Even those who manage their conditions well can find they are very vulnerable to the flu which can lead to increased risk of complications and even death as a result of flu. Contact your GP practice and book an appointment if you qualify and haven’t had the vaccination yet.”