It’s a fresh start to the year since the Flu Season is finally over, right? Wrong. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while seasonal Flu outbreaks can start as early as October, they can last as late as May. Since Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients already suffer from weak immune systems, they are at a high risk of catching the flu (Influenza) which could lead to feeling miserable, hospitalization (an increased risk of infections and medical errors), and even death in Chronic Kidney Disease patients - especially those on Dialysis. Here are five (5) facts about the Flu which could save patients' lives:
FACT 1: The flu is serious. The Flu is much worse than a common cold for Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients. While most Flu-related deaths can be prevented by Flu Shots patients should still get a check-up or go to the emergency room if they think that they have severe Flu symptoms such as congestion and difficulty breathing.
FACT 2: Everyone 6 months and older needs to get a flu shot. It is a myth that Dialysis patients should not get a Flu Shot. Unless otherwise discouraged by a Nephrologist, the CDC recommends yearly Flu Shots for everyone 6 months and over, especially at-risk groups such as Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients.
FACT 3: Getting a flu shot will not cause the flu. The flu shot doesn’t contain a live virus. In other words, there’s no way getting the Flu Shot can give Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients the flu.
FACT 4: You need to get a flu shot every year. Although many believe that they only need to take a Flu Shot once in a few years, immunity to the flu wears off within one year, and flu viruses change often. Hence, getting your Flu Shot ensures that you and those around you are protected against the strains most likely to cause an outbreak.
FACT 5: A flu shot doesn’t stop Dialysis patients from getting colds. Colds are actually caused by other viruses. So, a Flu Shot doesn’t protect those on Dialysis, or anyone for that matter, from the common cold. Thus, patients must still be careful to employ simple effective precautions to avoid catching a cold such as washing their hands and not touching their faces.
Recommended Reading: 7 Tips For CKD And Dialysis Patients To Keep Their New Year's Resolutions
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