Scotland

Heart patients urged to get flu vaccination early

A flu jab Image copyright SPL
Image caption Those with heart disease, diabetes, asthma and bronchitis, are being urged to get the flu vaccination early.

Heart patients are being urged to get the flu vaccination as early as possible this winter.

Almost a third of people treated in hospital with flu last winter -had a heart condition. For over 45-year-olds that proportion rose to 50%.

The free flu vaccine will be offered to more than 1.8m people in Scotland.

NHS Scotland is urging those with heart disease, diabetes, asthma and bronchitis to make a GP appointment early.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Dr Gregor Smith said: "The figures from last year's flu season highlight how vulnerable those with heart conditions can be to flu, and how hard it can hit.

"The vaccine provides the best defence, and getting it early is vital, particularly as there is the potential for this year's flu season to be serious."

Heart conditions put people at greater risk of becoming more seriously ill, according to the British Heart Foundation, with evidence showing heart attacks happen more often during or immediately after having an acute, inflammatory illness such as flu.

The vaccine is also offered to those aged 65 and over, pregnant women, carers and healthcare workers.

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