Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
Q. The holiday season may be all about sharing, but most people prefer to skip the shared germs. With many festive gatherings -- filled with travel and crowded rooms -- on the horizon, what tips do you have for staying healthy and avoiding getting sick?
A. Here are some tips on staying healthy and avoiding sharing germs during the season of sharing.
Q. Who's most at risk for catching the flu? Who do you recommend receive a flu shot this year?
A. Those at highest risk for catching the flu are pregnant women, the elderly (age over 65), and nursing home residents. Immunosuppressed individuals such as transplant recipients, patients on chemotherapy for cancer, patients being treated with steroids or immune suppressing drugs for arthritis, vasculitis, kidney disease, or other systemic illnesses are very prone to suffer from the flu. If you have lung disease, serious heart disease, or have a weakened immune system for any reason, you are much more likely to contract influenza.
Everyone older than age 6 months should be vaccinated with influenza vaccine unless you are allergic to eggs, have had prior allergic reactions to the flu vaccine or have had Guillian Barre syndrome as a complication of the influenza vaccine. Immune suppressed individuals listed above and children less than 2 years of age should not get the nasal influenza vaccine known as "FluMist". This is a live virus vaccine and should be avoided by these individuals.
The more people that get vaccinated, the less likely an influenza epidemic can be started in any community. Even if you are low risk for influenza, your vaccination may prevent someone in a very weakened state from getting a life-threatening case of influenza. This is known as "herd immunity".
Send your questions to Dr. Spry! Email KEEPhealthy@kidney.org