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How Warriors Can Prevent Catching the Flu This Season

November 8, 2016 by Andrea
Photo: itsv|Flickr via  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Photo: itsv|Flickr via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0




As we start to really settle in to fall and winter, we'll begin to see a rise in occurrences of the flu, which brings up an important question: Should you get the flu shot? Short answer -- yes. Here's why:

As a sickle cell warrior, you're already at a higher risk for developing complications from the flu if you catch it, so preventing that from happening is a must. It is especially paramount when it comes to children with sickle cell. According to a study published by Pediatrics in 2011, the risk of hospitalization in kids with SCD is 56 times greater than that of children without SCD. Because of this, the CDC recommends that everyone living with sickle cell receive the flu vaccine annually, beginning after six months of age. Something important to note this year is that, while the FluMist exists, the CDC is only recommending injectable shots, as they've been shown more effective.

Furthermore, the Pediatrics study went on to prove that vaccinating sickle cell warriors against the flu does not increase their chances of going into a crisis and being hospitalized for that. Therefore, the flu shot is safe to get. Per their results, they "did not find an association of influenza vaccination and hospitalization for sickle cell crises."

Typically, it will take about two weeks for the flu shot to build up enough antibodies in your system to provide protection against infection. In the meantime, you can practice other preventative measures, such as hand washing, rest, probiotic intake, and more. Actively working to prevent contracting the flu (and other contagious illnesses) will help you avoid any extra hospital stays, as well as contribute to an overall healthier life.


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