Today marks the first day of Autumn. I love this time of year…. Alan’s birthday, cooler temperatures, crisp air, beautifully colored leaves, and flu shots. Yes, you read that right… now is the time- BEFORE winter arrives (and with it, the flu)- when it’s best to get your flu shot.
Regardless of how severe this season’s flu will or will not be, it sucks if you are the one who gets it.
What do cancer patients & survivors- whose immune system may be weakened from cancer treatments- need to know about the flu?
Doctor’s offices around the country are vaccinating their patients for the upcoming 2014-2015 flu season NOW. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people who have had cancer or who currently have a diagnosis of cancer- as well as their families and close contacts- get vaccinated by October.
- Having or surviving cancer does NOT put you at an increased risk for getting the flu. It does, however, put you at an increased risk of complications from the flu virus. Complications include pneumonia, hospitalization and even death.
- Getting the flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu. But always talk with your medical team prior to getting vaccinated. Under certain circumstances, there may be some cancer patients should not get vaccinated.
- If you are a cancer patient or survivor, do not get the nasal spray- ONLY get the flu shot.
- Because you are at an increased risk of getting pneumonia, talk to your health care provider about the pneumococcal vaccine. Discuss the possibility of needing two pneumococcal vaccinations with your health care provider. This vaccine can help protect you against pneumonia.
- Call the doctor if you think you’ve been exposed to the flu. You may be prescribed an antiviral medication, which can help stop the virus from infecting your body.
- If you have flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.
- If you haven’t already gotten a flu shot, schedule an appointment with your doctor today.