How the Flu Affects People with CKD

Jan 3, 2021

The Seasonal Flu & CKD

With flu season in full swing, it is important to do what you can to prevent the spread of this respiratory illness. Read on to learn more about how the seasonal flu affects those living with CKD and how you can effectively prevent it.

People With CKD Are at Higher Risk for Serious Complications

People living with chronic kidney disease are considered at high risk for developing serious health complication relation to the seasonal flu. This is because chronic kidney disease negatively affects the immune system, which means that your body is less able to fight off infection. Regardless of your stage of CKD, getting the flu can mean having more serious symptoms for a longer period of time. It can even mean a hospital stay while your body fights off the disease.

Preventing the Flu

Get Vaccinated

Both the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage those living with CKD to get vaccinated for the seasonal flu. This is because getting the flu vaccine is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of the virus, effectively protecting you and others from getting sick.

For those living with CKD, getting vaccinated not only reduces the risk of getting sick with the flu, it also effectively reduces the severity of illness if you do happen to get sick.

When you get a flu shot, your body develops antibodies that help your immune system to fight off infection with the virus used to make the vaccine. Although it is recommended that you get vaccinated during the fall before flu season starts, you can still get vaccinated during the height of flu season to give your immune system a boost.

If you have any questions about getting the annual flu vaccine, ask your kidney doctor.

Wash Your Hands Often

Along with getting vaccinated, washing your hands properly and frequently is another way to ward off illness-causing germs. Each time you go to wash your hands, be sure to follow these steps:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water.
  • Lather your hands with antibacterial soap.
  • Scrub your hands, getting soap under your nails and between your fingers.
  • Rinse your hands with clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands with a disposable hand towel.

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Categories: Kidneys