Kidney disease puts you at higher risk of catching flu. There's also a greater chance if you catch flu that it will lead to more serious illnesses, including bronchitis and pneumonia.
Flu and pneumonia vaccinations are free from your local GP surgery for kidney disease patients.
You need to have a flu jab every year, as the antibodies that protect you from flu decline over time, and flu strains can also change from year to year. You will not catch flu from having the jab, as the vaccination does not contain a live virus.
The pneumococcal (pneumo) jab is usually only needed once, though some people need booster doses.
The flu jab is available from your local pharmacy and also from your GP. For the pneumo vaccine, see your GP.
Dr Nimit Dabas, local GP and board member of Basildon and Brentwood CCG, said: “If you suffer from 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 kidney disease puts you at high risk of infection, which is the second most common cause of death in 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 kidney disease, or any underlying health condition, is to get your flu jab now as it takes up to two weeks to take effect.
“Patient awareness of the pneumo vaccine is low and it is important that people with chronic kidney disease discuss having the pneumo jab with their GP.”
For more information on the flu jab visit the long term health conditions page of www.nhs.uk/staywell
For more information on the pneumo jab see http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/pneumococcal-vaccination.aspx