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Protection Against the Flu for COPD Patients

Posted by Lisa Burkhart on Oct 17, 2017 11:35:50 PM

older lady flu.jpg

Yes it’s that time of year where everywhere you turn someone is nagging you to get a flu shot. We know you’re probably sick of hearing it but it’s imperative that you get one, especially if you have a serious pulmonary or respiratory ailment. It’s well known that one of the biggest contributors to lung function decline is repeated episodes of exacerbation. Flu and other respiratory infections can spiral into a hospital visit very easily. Prevention is always the best medicine and will go a long way in preventing COPD acceleration.

The Centers for Disease Control has long recommended that those with chronic medical conditions get annual flu shots. The Global initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease additionally advises that those with COPD get a pneumonia vaccination as well.

Immunity

Let’s face it, no one likes getting a shot. It’s the stuff childhood screaming fits are made of. No thanks! Keep your lollipop! But it’s over in a snap, the soreness will reside in a few hours and it’s necessary to keep you healthy this winter. You will help everyone around you stay healthy too by not spreading the virus. No one wants to be sick with so many fun holidays coming up.

Vaccines

Researchers find which strains of the flu are likely to be prevalent this year and create a get your flu shot.jpgvaccine that is comprised of either an inactive virus of relevant strains, or no viruses at all but a manufactured recombinant vaccine.

4 Basic Types of Vaccines for Adults

  • Standard Trivalent Shots- which are flu virus strains grown in eggs. This is what most people get if they are generally healthy and between the ages of 18 through 64.
  • High Dose Trivalent Shots- which is specifically manufactured for those 65 and over.
  • Egg Free Recombinant Shot- is a shot generally for those with egg allergies and often used for pregnant women for safety reasons.
  • Trivalent Shot Manufactured with Adjuvant- which is a recent development and creates a stronger immune response. This vaccine has been approved for those 65 and older. Your doctor may opt for this vaccine if have an advanced case of COPD or other lung condition.

Am I Immune Immediately?

Once these vaccines are introduced into your system, your body immediately goes to work creating antibodies so that you can be immune to those strains. The immunity process usually takes about two weeks so doctors recommend you get your shot in October or November, in another words, call today!

Can the Flu Shot Give Me The Flu?

Impossible! As we’ve discussed the vaccine is comprised of either inactive virus strains or engineered chemicals to jump start antibody production.  A dead virus just cannot give you the flu. Some complain of having muscle aches, a low fever, and fatigue after getting a shot. This doesn’t mean you have the flu, it means that your immune system is doing just what it’s supposed to do, fighting against the injection vaccine.

Can I Still Get the Flu?

The short answer is yes. WHAT?! I was braved for the needle and still can wind up withflu.jpg the flu? Unfortunately, yes, but your chances of getting the flu are much smaller. And your case is likely to be much less serious. You may get the flu if you come into contact with the virus shortly after you get the shot if your body has not had time to build up immunity. Did I mention you should call today?

There are different types of flu strains going around in any given year. The flu shot vaccinates you against the most prevalent and most severe. There is still a chance that you may contract another strain. Therefore you should be taking precautions against contracting illness.

Staying Healthy

As someone who’s overall health depends upon not getting respiratory infections, there are things that you should be doing all the time to stay healthy.

Wash Your Hands

I feel like I say this in nearly 80% of the blogs I write, but the effectiveness of hand washinghand_washing.jpg cannot be overstated if done often. After you touch any railings or handles out in public, wash your hands before touching your eyes or nose where viruses can easily enter. Always wash hands before eating or preparing food. After using the restroom, wash your hands. When washing, always use soap and warm water.

Antibacterial soap is sort of a marketing ploy in most ways. All soap is antibacterial. It’s the bubbles in the soap that kills bacteria so if the soap bubbles when you lather up, it’s antibacterial. Regular soap may actually be better for you than any that have added extra bacteria killing chemicals. Your skin contains healthy bacteria which can be killed by these additives. This makes antibiotics less effective in combating new strains of bacteria creating superbugs. If you’re somewhere that handwashing might be difficult, take along some hand sanitizer.

Load Up On Vitamins

Vitamins C and E are especially helpful to the immune system. Beta-Carotene is also a great immune booster.

Beta Carotenevegetables.jpg

  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Kale
  • Green Peppers
  • Turnip
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potato
  • Watermelon

Vitamin C

  • Berries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tomatoes
  • Snow Peas
  • Red Peppers
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Broccoli

Vitamin E

  • Avocado
  • Chard
  • Mustard Greens
  • Pumpkin
  • Nuts
  • Sunflower Seeds

Stay Out Of Large Crowds in Small Places

inside airplane.jpg

One of the most likely places to get sick is in an airplane. You’re in tight quarters with a lot of people with no fresh air coming in for a long period of time. That’s like virus Disney Land. So wash hands often and wearing a scarf or something over your nose and mouth wouldn’t hurt. Eat lots of the above vitamins for a few days before your trip to boost the immune system. Let your friends and family know that getting sick would be extremely detrimental to your health so that if they are not feeling well, they won’t come over to visit.

Rest Up

During this time of year with lots of travel and holiday plans many of us are burning the candle at both ends. It’s a fun time of year but be mindful of the fact that letting yourself get run down makes you far more likely to get sick. Even a slight case of the common cold can be extremely dangerous for those with a lung condition. By all means, enjoy yourself but please make sure to schedule some downtime too. Your body needs it.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water and juice. Your body uses your kidneys to flush out impurities. Make sure any germs are on the way out before they have a chance to take hold and make you sick. Regular urine output makes your immune system's job much easier.

Stay healthy, my friends!

Topics: COPD Exacerbations, wellness

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