The Flu and Chronic Conditions: A Volatile Combination

The Flu and Chronic ConditionsIt’s that time of year again! People are sneezing, coughing and generally feeling miserable. Most often, it’s just a minor “cold” and symptoms are quelled by cough medicine and decongestants. But sometimes it can be something far more serious, and that virus may be influenza, or “the flu”.

If you are in a high-risk group (such as those with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, HIV, COPD or certain other chronic medical conditions), you’re at risk for flu complications that can lead to hospitalization and even death, and annual vaccination is your best protection against the flu virus.

Most people that are hospitalized with the flu – nearly 80% of adults and 50% of children – have a serious underlying illness that can complicate the flu. Receiving the influenza antiviral drug, or “flu shot,” can mean the difference between having a milder form of the flu or coming down with a very serious version of the flu, resulting in days or weeks of illness and complications that may result in a hospital stay or even death.

Symptoms of the flu can begin with symptoms similar to a common cold. Later, symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

You may wonder why your medical condition leaves you more vulnerable to serious complication of the flu, even though you have your chronic condition well-managed. Those with chronic conditions are more likely to develop pneumonia, thus making the condition unstable, especially for conditions such as COPD and asthma.

If you have diabetes, your immune system is less able to fight the flu symptoms and raise your blood sugar levels. Antiviral medications can help lessen the flu symptoms and the duration of the illness, and are especially helpful in preventing serious complications and hospitalization for those patients who are in the high-risk group. Antiviral medications are not a substitute for the flu vaccine. The influenza vaccine is the first and best way to ward against getting the flu virus.

Nightingale Homecare is diligent in helping to prevent the flu for our clients and our staff. If you are a patient or a caregiver of Nightingale Homecare, we offer the flu vaccination free to you. Just call the office to request your vaccine.

Your doctor can give you more information about the vaccine and antiviral medications used to treat the symptoms. For more information, you can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) websites.

If you live in the areas of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley or Maricopa County, AZ, reach out to Nightingale Homecare to discuss your specific needs for home care and monitoring your chronic disease. Our team of caring professionals has developed our unique Pathlink Program designed to instruct our patients and their loved ones on how to manage their chronic disease, empowering them to get control of their health care needs. Nightingale’s care is provided any time of the day or night—all from the comfort of our clients’ Phoenix-area homes.

Nightingale Homecare is tailored to the needs of each individual situation. Contact Nightingale Homecare any time at 602-504-1555, or complete our simple online contact form to let us know how we can help. If getting trusted care at home and maintaining independence is critical to your long-term care plan, we can help.