October is the beginning of flu season and medical offices, hospitals and clinics, schools and employers around the country are now offering the flu vaccine, either through the "flu shot" or a nasal-spray called LAIV (FluMist®). You might be wondering why I am writing about the flu vaccine on an RA webpage . It's because people with RA and other chronic conditions are at higher risk for developing the flu and complications from the flu, especially those of us who take immunosuppressant drugs like TNF-inhibitors . For that reason, my rheumatologist is adamant that I get the vaccine every year, since I have no allergies or other contraindications for receiving it. Others at most risk are the very young, older people, and caregivers to people at higher risk. Here are a few statistics from the Centers for Disease Control: every year in the United States, about 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and; a...
Medications Vaccines are available to prevent influenza (See Viral Influenza Vaccines section in this report). For mild influenza, symptom relief is similar to that for colds. Who Needs Antiviral Drugs Two classes of antiviral agents have been developed to treat influenza: neuraminidase inhibitors and M2 inhibitors. These drugs can shorten symptoms but there is no indication that they can prevent or reduce complications such as pneumonia. They do not help if they are started after the first 36 hours of illness. Because of emerging drug resistance, some experts suggest these drugs be reserved for severely ill patients or those at high risk. Most people who get seasonal flu or H1N1 flu will likely recover without needing medical care. Doctors, however, can prescribe antiviral drugs to treat people who become very sick with the flu or are at high risk for flu complications. If you need treatment for the flu, the CDC recommends that your doctor give you zanamivir (Relenza) or osteltamivir (Tami...
Flu and exercise; Colds and exercise
Can exercise help you avoid colds and flus?
Exercise helps the disease-fighting white blood cells in the body move from the organs into the bloodstream.
Overall, you can improve your immune system by eating a proper diet, getting enough rest, reducing stress, and exercising regularly. This will decrease your chances of getting a cold or the flu.
Even if studies find that exercise doesn't prevent colds or the flu, exercise is good for overall health.
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