Flu Immunization with COPD
Most people who get the flu experience a mild illness that requires no medical care or antiviral drugs. Most will recover in less than two weeks. Some people, however, are more susceptible to flu complications that can land them in a hospital bed. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. The flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For someone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), such complications can have especially serious consequences.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all adults, including COPD sufferers, receive the influenza vaccine every year to protect against seasonal flu. Besides protecting against sickness, flu shots can help people with COPD prevent exacerbations (flare-ups), which can lead to hospitalization and possible premature death. Repeated exacerbations can cause a rapid and permanent decline in lung function, and may result in a shortened life expectancy. Exacerbations are the chief reason COPD patients seek emergency treatment and end up admitted to the hospital. This is serious business, so anything you can do to prevent an infection such as the flu is important.
The CDC recommends an annual flu shot specifically for people with chronic medical conditions such as COPD. Additionally, the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) advises that getting vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia viruses helps reduce the risk of acute exacerbation.
According to the CDC, the best time to get vaccinated is in October or November, but you can continue to get vaccinated in December, or even later during the year. Flu season usually begins in October and typically lasts into May.
About Flu Vaccination
The influenza vaccine is an “inactivated” vaccine, meaning it contains a killed virus. Therefore, contrary to rumors, it is simply not possible to get the flu from a flu vaccine. The shot is given through a needle, usually in your arm. About two weeks following the vaccine, your body will have produced enough antibodies to protect you against the flu.
Who Shouldn’t Get the Flu Vaccination?
Ask your doctor before getting a flu shot if any of the following applies to you:
- You have severe allergy to chicken eggs.
- You had a previous severe reaction to the flu shot.
- You developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome within six weeks of having a flu shot in the past.
- You are currently sick with a fever
We know how frightening flu season can be for someone suffering from a chronic lung disease, but the Lung Institute may be able to help. With revolutionary cell treatments, we could have the solution for you. For more information, contact us or call us at (800) 729-3065.
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