Dr. Oz Explains Worrisome Flu Symptoms



What to Know About the Flu if You Have Hepatitis C

How the Flu Shot Protects People With Hepatitis C

The flu vaccine protects people with hepatitis C in the same way it protects anyone. This was confirmed in a 2012 Spanish study in the journalPLoS One that showed no differences between people with or without hepatitis C in their response to the influenza vaccination.

Lucinda K. Porter, RN, a nurse and the author of Hepatitis C Treatment One Step at a Time and Free From Hepatitis C, was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1988. “The flu is not just a bad cold; it is a potentially serious illness,” she says, adding that she gets her flu shot yearly.

The goal is 100 percent coverage of the population, but CDC reports show that only approximately 43 percent of U.S. adults got a flu shot for the 2019– 2019season.

How to Overcome Your Fear of the Flu Shot

Not everyone is comfortable with getting a flu shot, but it’s important to do so. Here’s what hepatitis C experts tell people who are reluctant to get vaccinated.

During office visits, Ponni V. Perumalswami, MD, an associate professor of medicine in the division of liver diseases at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, always gets her flu shot, as does her medical office staff. When patients are reluctant to get a flu shot, she tells them that the influenza virus can be dangerous for people with hepatitis C, particularly those with underlying liver disease.

“Every year we see healthy and sick patients die from the flu. It is ultimately a patient’s choice, but my recommendation is to get it,” Dr. Perumalswami says.

Dawn Sears, MD, and her medical office staff get their flu shots too. Dr. Sears is the chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at Baylor Scott and White Health in Temple, Texas, and an associate clinical professor at Texas A&M College of Medicine.

When Sears’ patients balk at getting a flu shot, she reminds them that the flu shot is an inactive form of the virus and can’t cause the flu. To keep expectations realistic, she also tells them, “The flu shot does not stop 100 percent of the flu, but it does greatly reduce the symptoms and spread, and the length of illness — if you are unlucky enough to catch the flu anytime after you get the flu shot.”

Alexander Kuo, MD, the medical director of liver transplantation at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, also gets his flu shot yearly and recommends it to his patients who have hepatitis C.

Although the flu shot cannot give you the flu, “low-grade fever and soreness are common,” he says. For people who have late stages of the liver disease cirrhosis, this is particularly important. “Patients with cirrhosis have weakened immune systems and are at increased risk for the flu,” says Dr. Kuo.

Top 3 Reasons to Get Your Flu Shot

According to Perumalswami, people with hepatitis C should get a flu shot because:

  1. It will help lower your risk of infection from the flu.
  2. The flu can be more severe when you have hepatitis C.
  3. People with hepatitis C are at greater risk for severe complications from the flu.

According to Sears, relying on last year’s immunization is not good practice. “The protection from the vaccine only lasts for one flu season, so last year’s vaccine will not be working this year,” she explains.






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Date: 07.12.2018, 11:55 / Views: 73381