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.
- Get your flu shot at your next doctor’s appointment. Most primary care doctors have flu shots available and it only takes a moment.
- Most drugstores, even those in your local supermarket, provide flu shots, and are usually free with Medicare.
- 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.