Kidney disease affects more than 3 million people in the UK and cold weather, ice and snow can aggravate existing health problems, making people with long term conditions such as kidney disease more vulnerable to illnesses. With an Arctic front and snow forecast to hit the UK later this week, it is vital that kidney patients take extra care.
Even when people are managing their long-term condition and lead otherwise healthy lives, it is important that they continue to protect themselves. This is why we, along with the NHS and Renal Units throughout England are promoting some of the key actions patients can take to stay well during the winter months:
- Getting the flu vaccine (only 53.5% of those with chronic kidney disease had the flu vaccination last year).
- Seeking advice at the first sign of feeling unwell.
- Keeping warm.
- Ensuring their medicine cabinet is stocked up.
Nick Palmer, Head of Patient Support and Advocacy Services at the British Kidney Patient Association (BKPA), says: “Our advice to any kidney patients this week is to plan ahead if possible; if you are dialysing in a hospital or satellite unit there are likely to be problems with roads and transport.
If you need medicines it’s worth collecting them now rather than later in the week when the weather will be worse. It’s important to stay warm when outside or at home, to avoid colds and the flu. If you haven’t already, it’s also a good idea to speak to your GP or pharmacist about getting the flu vaccine, as only half of people with chronic kidney disease (53.5%) did so last year”.
The national 'Stay Well This Winter' campaign launched on 12 October and will run until March 2017, to help people who are most at risk of emergency admission to hospital to take actions that may help them to avoid hospitalisation.
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