Sadly, thousands of people die each year from complications due to the common flu.
At the greatest risk are young children, pregnant women, seniors, and those with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
People with arthritis—a debilitating weakening of bones and joints—often take medication to help manage pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, and improve flexibility. These types of medications can suppress the immune system, leaving a patient susceptible to infection and other illness.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends all those who fall into this greater risk category get the flu vaccine before flu season starts and that means…now! Getting vaccinated can help prevent you from getting the flu, and reduce the potential for doctor’s visits, hospital stays, and missed work.
The CDC also suggests that if you have a weakened immune system, encourage those who you’re in close contact with to get the vaccine, too.
The flu vaccine is available in shot or (nasal) spray/mist form. The injected version of the vaccine is often thought to be more effective because the mist has a live, weakened form of the virus. This can have side effects for those with already suppressed immune systems. Talk to your doctor about which one is right for you.
Symptoms of the flu to watch out for include:
Fever and chills
Cough, congestion, or runny nose
Besides getting vaccinated, other ways to avoid the flu include frequent handwashing, limited contact with those who have it, and following a healthy diet of vitamin-rich foods.
If you are suffering from arthritis, and have questions or concerns about the upcoming flu season, please contact us for an appointment with one of our specialists.