Get Your Flu Shot! The Importance of Annual Flu Vaccination for COPD Patients

 

If you’re living with COPD, getting your flu shot can mean the difference between life and death. 

The CDC recommends that people with COPD and other conditions that affect the lungs get a yearly flu vaccine, in addition to the two pneumococcal vaccines that help protect against pneumonia. But millions of adults living with COPD fail to get a flu shot each year. 

Why Is The Flu So Dangerous for People Living with COPD?

COPD causes inflammation in the lungs. Because the flu causes additional inflammation, it can trigger a COPD flare-up, making both your COPD symptoms, and the flu infection, much worse. 

Complications, such as pneumonia, can be life-threatening. Read our blog: The Signs of Pneumonia and How to Avoid Getting It.

According to a study by Ottawa Hospital in Canada, those with COPD are more likely to die from the flu than patients without COPD. 

Your best defense is getting a flu shot at the beginning of cold and flu season. 

Where Can I Get a Flu Shot?

Here are some resources that will make getting your flu shot easier. 

  1. Get your flu shot at your next doctor’s appointment. Most primary care doctors have flu shots available and it only takes a moment.
  2. Most drugstores, even those in your local supermarket, provide flu shots, and are usually free with Medicare.
  3. Type in your ZIP code below to find a flu vaccine provider near you. 

How Can I Prevent the Flu?

Prevention is key. Getting your flu shot is an essential first defense. Your should also:

  • Avoid crowded areas
  • When being in crowded areas is unavoidable, wash your hands as often as possible, using warm water and mild soap and washing thoroughly for 30 seconds
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, or nose
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Drink lots of water

What If I or a Loved One with COPD Gets the Flu?

If someone with COPD develops flu-like symptoms, call or visit your doctor. He or she may prescribe antiviral medications for you. 

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