October 15, 2015 |  written by IVX Health

Should I Get the Flu Shot if I have a Chronic Illness?

Every year, you’re likely to hear strong opinions from plenty of people on whether or not the flu shot is beneficial.  Personal anecdotes can provide food for thought, but looking at data from studies designed to examine the effectiveness of the flu shot can provide better guidance, especially for those already suffering from a chronic illness.  Read on for the facts.

There are a lot of opinions out there about the flu vaccine, but make sure you know the facts when it comes to whether or not you should be vaccinated, especially if you have a chronic illness. (Photo by Jim Gathany, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library via Wikimedia Commons.)

Flu Shot: Separating Fact from Fiction

Myth: The flu shot isn’t effective every year.

Truth: The effectiveness of the flu shot does vary based on several factors, including health and age of the person being treated, as well as the closeness of the “match” between the flu vaccine and the prevalent flu strains.  For instance, you may have heard that the 2014-2015 flu shots were not well matched and thus not effective.  However, it’s important to know that, even in cases where the match is less than perfect, the flu vaccine still provides protection from the flu and flu-related complications, as well as potentially reducing the length of illness.

Myth: Immunocompromised people shouldn’t get the flu shot.

Truth: There are two main methods of vaccinating against the flu: the nasal spray (live virus) and the flu shot.  While it is true that people with depressed immune systems should NOT receive the nasal spray vaccine, those same people should also be prioritized when it comes to receiving the flu shot.

Myth: The flu shot can give you the flu.

Truth: The flu shot can indeed have mild side effects, including achiness, low-grade fever and soreness at the site of the shot.  However, as anyone who has had the flu knows, flu symptoms are much, much more severe.  The nasal spray can cause a runny nose, headaches, sore throat and cough in adults, plus wheezing, vomiting and fever in children.  However, the side effects for both the nasal spray and the flu shot are mild and short-lived in most cases.

Who Should Get the Flu Shot?

The Centers for Disease Control recommend that everyone over the age of 6 months be vaccinated every year.  On top of that, people who are more likely to suffer flu-related complications should make getting vaccinated a high priority.  Those people include:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Also, American Indians and Alaskan Natives
  • Asthma
  • Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes)
  • Kidney disorders
  • Liver disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication
  • People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
  • People who are morbidly obese

People with many of the conditions we treat at IVX Health will benefit from the flu shot, but as always, talk to your healthcare team to ensure the flu shot is right for you.

Boost Your Immune System at IVX Health

Whether you’re managing a chronic illness or simply looking to give your health an extra boost with a Myers’ Cocktail, IVX Health offers the best of all worlds in outpatient IV therapy.  With the warmth of a spa-like setting and the comforts of home without having to entertain medical professionals, you can receive your IV treatment while catching up on your favorite TV shows on our HDTVs, digging into the latest hit novel on our eReaders, or by simply hanging out with friends or family in your own private room.  We’ll even provide refreshments.

We also understand the demands of a busy schedule, so we offer appointments during days, evenings and on weekends at two convenient locations on either side of the state line in both Lee’s Summit and Overland Park. If you’re ready to experience the difference IVX Health can make in your life, give us a call at either one of our locations.

Treatment at IVX Health

If biologics like Remicade, Actemra or Orencia  are a part of your chronic illness treatment plan, then consider choosing IVX Health for your ongoing care needs. IVX Health makes it possible to receive your therapy in a comfortable, convenient, and private environment.

With a private suite for every patient, you can watch your favorite Netflix show or movie on the big screen TV in each room, use a laptop or other mobile device to surf the web, or simply hang out with family and friends. We always have chairs for guests, and each center has a family room that is spacious and private if you need to bring your kids to your treatment. We also offer flexible appointment scheduling – including evenings and Saturdays – at any of our convenient locations.

At IVX Health, we truly are invested in helping you live your best life. If you’re ready to experience a new kind of infusion clinic, click here to learn how to move your infusion or injection therapy to IVX Health.