Influenza (flu) is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Vaccination is an important preventative tool for people with chronic health conditions such as renal failure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the most important step of protection against the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu related illness. Additionally, flu vaccination decreases patients’ chances of catching the flu and possibly infecting family members, friends, fellow patients and staff at the dialysis clinic. Flu vaccination has also been shown to reduce hospitalizations among people with diabetes (79%) and chronic lung diseases (53%). Flu vaccination may also lessen the intensity of the flu if you do get sick.
Vaccines reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to help it safely develop immunity to the disease. The body’s immune response declines over time, and each flu season is different. Therefore an annual vaccine is needed to provide ideal protection. Additionally, because the flu virus constantly changes, the vaccine is reformulated each year to keep up with the changing viruses.
The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age and older receive the flu vaccine Additionally, anyone living with and/or caring for dialysis or transplant patients should get the flu vaccine.
Dialysis and transplant patients should not take nasal spray flu vaccines; and patients who have received a transplant within the previous six months should check with their renal care team concerning the flu shot.
Flu season starts in November. It takes about two weeks for the body to develop protection to the flu. Therefore, it’s best to get vaccinated by the end of October, before flu season starts.
CDC Preventive Steps: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm
CDC Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm