As the Fall comes to an end and December 21st, 2014 marks the beginning of the Winter Season many take a sigh of relief because they believe the Flu Season is over. Unfortunately, they are completely wrong. The Flu Season actually occurs during the cold half of the year in each hemisphere which clearly includes the Winter. In fact, research has shown that the infection spreads PRIMARILY in the Winter Months due to the favorable climate (it is more stable and stays in the air longer when air is cold and dry) while additional findings suggest Chronic Kidney Disease, Diabetics and "Dialysis Patients are at higher risk from the Flu."
Recommended Reading: Should Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Receive Flu Shots This Season?
For the general population, catching the Flu is simply a temporary setback that causes them to feel ill for a week or perhaps two until they are back to normal. This is not the case for many Chronic Kidney Disease, Diabetic and Dialysis patients who struggle with a depressed immune system. Getting the Flu for these patients is a big deal and is a serious health threat that can lead to Pneumonia and other life-threatening complications. Obviously we do not want that so the following are tips to protect yourself:
1.) Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth because that is how germs are spread.
2.) Avoid the crowds. If you are planning on attending a football game, music concert or another event with hundreds or thousands of people, you may also plan on getting more than just a good time. Jeanette Rainey (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) agreed that you are likely to catch " a sore throat, the Common Cold, Influenza (the Flu), a Sinus Infection, or Bronchitis" in crowded settings. Hence, Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetics may opt to stay away from such places especially during the Winter Months.
3.) It's not just large venues. Typically people are much closer together physically during Winter which makes it easier for infections to pass between people. Crowded trains, buses, department stores, and people gathering for parties (even smaller gatherings) all make catching the Flu more likely. Why? Well it may be due to poor ventilation and Central Heating which, "reduces our defenses and affects the respiratory system by drying out the protective mucous in our nasal passages," according to Dr. William Bird (Meteorological Office's Health Forecast Unit).
4.) Bundle Up! By keeping warm Chronic Kidney Disease patients and Diabetics can help to avoid coughs, Common Colds and the Flu. Dr. Bird noted, "Shivering depresses the immune system and this makes us more likely to catch colds." Also, wear a hat because during the Winter, individuals lose up to 30% of their body heat through their heads. Click here to order your Dialysis Tailored Jacket (pictured above) at KidneyBuzz.com which has specialized ports so you can keep warm during Dialysis without interrupting your Treatments.
5.) Lack of sleep makes Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetic patients more prone to infection. Yet, it is not just length of sleep, it is instead quality. Some can get less than 7 hours of sleep every night and still function well. Hence, Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetic patients should try their best to get a quality night's rest. If you are having difficulty sleeping well, contact your Primary Physician for advice. You can also email the KidneyBuzz.com Team who can direct you to helpful resources.
Bonus Tip: Make sure you carry a happy and welcoming demeanor. You may be surprised to learn that your mood "affects your ability to fight off infections," suggested Dr. Bird. If you feel stressed you are more likely to become sick as compared to when you are feeling "buoyant, happy and relaxed."
How do you avoid getting sick? Click here and share a few tips with your Friends on the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page. We value your voice and insights. Also, be sure to turn to KidneyBuzz.com every day for the most Breaking News and Information which teaches Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetics how they can better manage their lives.
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"5 Tips to Avoid the Flu." Https://www.kidney.org. The National Kidney Foundation.
"Ten Ways to Avoid Colds and Flu This Winter." Http://www.dailymail.co.uk. Mail Online.