The official blog of the Lung Institute.
If you’re living with pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease or another chronic lung disease, you know the importance of avoiding influenza. Pulmonary fibrosis and the flu create complicated symptoms. If you have pulmonary fibrosis and catch the flu, it may be life threatening. With these tips for pulmonary fibrosis and the flu, you’ll be able to prevent illness and stay healthier.
What is the Flu?
Influenza or the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. The flu can cause mild to severe illness. For some people, the flu may be life threatening. Both colds and the flu occur because of a virus. However, the flu is different than a cold and often happens suddenly, sometimes causing serious health problems.
Colds and the flu have similar symptoms, making it difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms only. There are tests your doctor can do to diagnose the flu, such as specialized nasal swabs. Typically, colds are milder than the flu, and colds generally do not result in serious health problems.
Symptoms of the Flu
People who catch the flu often feel some or all of the following symptoms:
- Sore Throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fever or feeling feverish with chills
- Though not as common, some people may have vomiting or diarrhea.
If you notice a change in your pulmonary fibrosis symptoms or overall health, see your doctor immediately.
The Complications of Pulmonary Fibrosis and the Flu
Most people who catch the flu recover in several days to about two weeks. However, some people may develop complications because of the flu. Anyone can get sick with the flu and become very ill. People at a high risk of developing complications include young children, adults aged 65 years and older, pregnant women and people with certain chronic health conditions.
People who have pulmonary fibrosis and the flu are at an increased risk of developing complications, which is why seeking prompt medical help from your doctor is so important. Having pulmonary fibrosis and the flu can worsen pulmonary fibrosis symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing, weakness and fatigue. Taking steps to prevent the flu can help you avoid life threatening illness and hospitalization.
Simple Tips to Fight the Flu
Flu prevention is key. With these simple tips, you’ll be ready to fight the flu, so you can stay healthier.
Get your annual flu vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine. Staying up-to-date on your flu vaccine helps keep you better protected from flu viruses. The CDC also recommends getting your flu vaccination by the end of October, if possible.
Encourage your friends and family members to get their flu vaccinations. Everyone can help prevent the spread of the flu simply by having an annual flu vaccination. It’ll help the person who receives the vaccine as well as other people by keeping the flu from spreading.
Take every day preventative actions. Wash your hands often with warm, soapy water. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer. Avoid contact with people who are sick, and limit contact with others if you become ill. Don’t share food or drinks, and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands promptly after coughing or sneezing into them.
Keep small packages of tissues, hand sanitizer and sanitizing surface wipes where you spend a lot of time, such as at your desk at work, in your car or in a bag or purse. Clean surfaces in your home, car and office with disinfecting wipes often, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. With these simple actions, you can prevent the spread of germs.
See your doctor regularly, especially if you feel unwell. If you get the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications. These medications work differently than antibiotics, and they may shorten the time you’re sick, lessen flu symptoms and prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia.
People with the flu are encouraged to stay home while fever and flu symptoms persist. It’s fine to go back out once you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine. Simply put, if you feel unwell, see your doctor immediately and take actions to get better and to avoid serious flu complications, such as hospitalization.
Staying Healthy with Pulmonary Fibrosis
With these tips for managing pulmonary fibrosis and the flu, you’re better prepared for the future. Seeing your doctor regularly, having healthy habits and following your pulmonary fibrosis treatment plan will help you stay healthier. Along with a treatment plan, some patients have found stem cell treatment beneficial. If you or a loved one has pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease or another chronic lung disease and would like to learn more about stem cell treatment, contact us at (800) 729-3065.