Safeguard Your Health This Flu Season

Oct 24, 2017 | Mayo Clinic Transplant Staff | @mayoclinictransplantstaff | Comments (28)

2017-10-24 Flu shot blogIf you’re like many people, your “to do” list is growing longer and longer now that the warm months are behind us. Maybe your list involves packing away the beach supplies, pulling out your warmer clothes, or doing yard work to prepare for that dreaded white stuff. Does your list of to dos also include getting a flu shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age or older be vaccinated annually against influenza. Mayo Clinic recommends annual influenza vaccination to all transplant candidates, transplant recipients, their caregivers and other close contacts. As a transplant patient, you should not receive the FluMist, nor should any of your caregivers or close contacts. The FluMist is a live virus vaccine and could cause you to become ill. The flu mist has also officially been determined to be less effective than the vaccine for the 2017-18 flu season. Although not 100% effective, getting a flu shot is worth the needle stick. Flu shots are the most effective way to prevent influenza and its complications.

If you are a transplant patient at another facility, contact your care team to ask about their recommendations for the flu season.

What you can do

In addition to getting your flu shot, remember to practice good hygiene as another safeguard against flu season.

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water
  • Use an alcohol-based sanitizer on your hands if soap and water aren't available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth whenever possible
  • Avoid crowds when the flu is most prevalent in your area
  • Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, eat a nutritious diet, and manage your stress

Do you get your flu shot every year? Tell us about your experience.

HELPFUL LINKS

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@rosemarya

@howard_newkirk, Hi, Howard, and Welcome. This is a very good question! I did not realize that there were so many options.
Since my transplant, I have always been given the high dose (for seniors) as an extra protection due to my immunosuppression; I qualify for it now because of age.
Are you a transplant patient? What does your transplant provider recommend?
Rosemary

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@rosemarya – very informative! I have only gone to the CDC website when traveling out of the country but I might need to use it as a reference more often. Thanks for being our sleuth!

Lynn

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Hi all. I rarely post, but I thought I’d weigh in on this thread. I’m post pancreas transplant 2005. Now I’m a future kidney transplant candidate. I have gotten every vaccine recommended by my transplant team since the first transplant. My husband usually never did and also claimed that he was more likely to get sick if he was vaccinated. One year I came down with the flu despite my vaccination. Our primary physician examined and treated both me and my husband. He told us my vaccination would likely shorten the duration of my case and make it less severe. He told my husband that he should definitely get vaccinated each year for himself and to help prevent exposing me to anything. My husband has gotten his vaccination ever since. Our doctor also reviewed the difference between flu and other bacterial/viral ailments. He sent us home with info on prevention and care tips.

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@cehunt57

Hi all. I rarely post, but I thought I’d weigh in on this thread. I’m post pancreas transplant 2005. Now I’m a future kidney transplant candidate. I have gotten every vaccine recommended by my transplant team since the first transplant. My husband usually never did and also claimed that he was more likely to get sick if he was vaccinated. One year I came down with the flu despite my vaccination. Our primary physician examined and treated both me and my husband. He told us my vaccination would likely shorten the duration of my case and make it less severe. He told my husband that he should definitely get vaccinated each year for himself and to help prevent exposing me to anything. My husband has gotten his vaccination ever since. Our doctor also reviewed the difference between flu and other bacterial/viral ailments. He sent us home with info on prevention and care tips.

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@cehunt57, It is good to hear your (virtual) voice.
You mentioned that your PCP gave you info on prevention and care tips. There are 5 prevention tips listed in the beginning of this discussion. Did your PCP provide you with any additional care tips that might be helpful to us?
Rosemary

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@cehunt57

Hi all. I rarely post, but I thought I’d weigh in on this thread. I’m post pancreas transplant 2005. Now I’m a future kidney transplant candidate. I have gotten every vaccine recommended by my transplant team since the first transplant. My husband usually never did and also claimed that he was more likely to get sick if he was vaccinated. One year I came down with the flu despite my vaccination. Our primary physician examined and treated both me and my husband. He told us my vaccination would likely shorten the duration of my case and make it less severe. He told my husband that he should definitely get vaccinated each year for himself and to help prevent exposing me to anything. My husband has gotten his vaccination ever since. Our doctor also reviewed the difference between flu and other bacterial/viral ailments. He sent us home with info on prevention and care tips.

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@cehunt57 Are we married to the same man? My husband says the exact same thing but I know if he felt it could benefit me would get the shot. I will have to check with my transplant team and see if they share the view that it would benefit me.
JK

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