Get a flu shot – As flu season approaches, kidney patients need to know how to prevent getting the flu. Getting a flu shot early on in the season is a critical step. All patients with chronic kidney disease, including those with a kidney transplant, should obtain a flu shot. Transplant patients may not have the nasal mist flu vaccine known as FluMist® because it contains live, weakened vaccine components that the transplant patients' immune systems may not be able to handle. Instead, transplant patients should receive the regular injection for the flu shot. It's always important to check with your doctor to determine which type of flu vaccine is best for you.
Make sure you're getting enough sleep – A good night's sleep goes a long way. Being well-rested is more important than many people realize. Did you know that studies have shown that not getting enough sleep may lead to an increased appetite and in turn, weight gain? In the fall, the days grow shorter, which can throw off people's sleep cycles. It's important to be mindful of this so that you ensure you're getting enough sleep.
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water – Keeping your hands clean is a top way to prevent the spread of germs and infections. Carry around hand sanitizer if you're on the go and not able to access a sink to wash your hands with soap and water. Dry your hands when you're done washing them. This is an important component of hand washing that people sometimes forget when in a rush.
Drink fluids and eat healthy – Remember to drink plenty of water and eat enough fruits and vegetables. This is especially important with all the treats and temptations that come along with the holiday season. Check out the My Food Coach app for some healthy alternatives to many holiday recipes. The recipes have all been evaluated to determine that they are kidney healthy and whether they are appropriate for individuals with diabetes, CKD and/or kidney transplants. Eating a balanced diet and getting proper nutrients is key to staving off sickness.
Stay away from others who are sick – This can be challenging because sometimes it is hard to tell who around you may be sick or coming down with something. If you know that a loved one is ill, make sure you're keeping your distance to prevent yourself from getting sick. If you're playing the role of caregiver, follow the tips above and wash your hands regularly. Additionally, minimize the spread of germs throughout the house by disinfecting common areas of your home by wiping down door handles and countertops. Also, make sure you wash the pillow cases and sheets of the person who is sick.