It is highly understandable that cancer patients and survivors are at a greater risk of catching influenza (flu) and facing complications. So, it’s crucial for their visitors, caregivers, and family members to take the necessary steps to prevent influenza (flu) from spreading. The only best way to save yourself from influenza (flu) is to take a vaccination shot annually. Get jabbed every year and ask your dear ones with cancer to get one too.
Below, we will discuss how to stop flu from spreading, how you can protect yourself from catching influenza, and flu facts for patients suffering from cancer.
How To Prevent Flu From Spreading
People who caught the flu can spread the germs from around six feet away to others. Several experts think that flu viruses are spread primarily by droplets produced when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or talks. These tiny droplets can get into the lungs of the people taking care of you via their noses or mouths. Less frequently, a person might also catch influenza (flu) by coming in contact with an object or surface that contains flu virus on it and then touching their nose or mouth.
Most people tend to catch flu, can infect others even before they develop symptoms, and it takes around two to five days before they too start showing symptoms. That means you can pass on the flu to somebody else before even knowing that you are ill, as well as while you are sick. So, it is necessary to prevent the flu from spreading to others, such as your caregivers, visitors, and family members. Below, we are giving tips on how you can prevent the flu from spreading to others.
Help prevent the spread of flu viruses by:
- Avoid direct contact with people who are infected by the flu.
- If you are a working individual, stay in your home or work from home.
- If you are a school or college-going, avoid it for a few days. Also, avoid errands when you catch the flu.
- Always cover your mouth and nose with a mask or cover them with a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
- Regularly wash and sanitize your hands.
Flu Facts For Cancer Patients
Cancer patients may be at higher risk of developing flu symptoms and can infect others by passing on the influenza virus while sneezing, talking, and coughing. There are several questions that people ask about catching the flu. However, flu doesn’t affect ordinary people much but can be a matter of concern for cancer patients and survivors. In this blog, we will provide some flu facts for cancer patients. Below we are mentioning a few flu facts for patients suffering from cancer 2021:
Fact 1: Why Is Influenza (Flu) A Big Concern For Cancer Patients And Survivors?
The flu or influenza virus is the most common cold virus spreading in autumn and winter. Also, flu is one of the respiratory viruses with the most significant mortality rate. It is primarily a concern for people with cancer, as some cancer types can influence and damage the immune system. A few chemotherapy treatment methods can also affect the body’s immune system and response. In patients with cancer and immunosuppression, influenza can have more critical complications, including secondary bacterial infections and respiratory failure. Moreover, they can have a more comprehensive disease course than healthy people with healthy immune systems.
Fact 2: What Are The Advantages Of Antiviral Drugs?
Taking the antiviral drugs is one of the best options to choose when beginning within two days of developing influenza symptoms. Antiviral drugs can help lessen fever and other flu symptoms and reduce sickness duration by about one day. Antiviral drugs also can prevent you from catching critical flu complications such as pneumonia if you have received treatment timely.
For cancer patients and survivors at higher risk of developing critical flu complications, timely treatment with an antiviral drug can prevent them from developing milder symptoms instead of a more critical sickness that could admit you to the hospital. For people suffering from flu sickness, a few studies have shown that early antiviral treatment can decrease the risk of death.
Fact 3: Is Influenza or Flu Be Treated?
Yes, it is curable. Doctors use medications known as “antiviral drugs” to treat flu sickness. Antiviral drugs can help prevent influenza viruses from entering your respiratory tract. They are not antibiotics. Antiviral medications help fight against viral infections, while antibiotics fight against bacterial infections.
Fact 4: What Do I Do If I Have A Doubt Of Catching Flu?
Consult your doctor immediately if you fall under the category of people who have a high risk for critical complications, and experience flu symptoms. Symptoms of flu or influenza can include cough, high fever, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, headache, body aches, chills, and fatigue.
If you think you catch the flu, taking prescribed antiviral drugs is one of the best treatment options. Your healthcare provider may recommend antiviral drugs to cure your flu.
Fact 5: Is It Necessary To Take Flu Vaccination For People Who Have Gone Through Cancer Tests And Have No Symptoms Of Disease?
Yes. In fact, the flu vaccine is essential for everyone, with or without cancer, immunosuppression, or immunocompetent. Suppose we catch the flu and experience no complications from it. In that case, we can still transfer it to others who have risk factors for chronic diseases, such as small children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised people, among others. If you are a cancer patient or survivor and don’t have any immune system problems, you should still get the yearly vaccine.
Fact 6: Is The Flu Vaccine Prescribed For People Who Are Currently Diagnosed With And Undergoing Treatment For Cancer? Is The Injectable Or Nasal Mist Recommended?
The influenza vaccine that is suggested this year (2021) is injectable. This year, the nasal spray version is not prescribed for anyone. As far as the injectable form of the vaccine, it is an inactivated vaccine, so it is safe for immunosuppression people. These people should get the flu vaccine dose every year. Individuals or family members living with cancer patients are also recommended to get jabbed. The sole individuals who are not advised to get the vaccine dose are those who have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome and those who have ever had critical allergic reactions or anaphylaxis with earlier flu vaccines. In a few instances, these people may still get a few particular kinds of vaccines if they can be observed in a medical facility and see an allergy doctor who can perform specialized testing.
Fact 7: Can I Acquire The Flu Symptoms From The Flu Vaccine?
Well, we can’t say anything firmly. But the flu vaccine doesn’t contain any activated flu virus. So, the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu, anyway. However, the vaccine can have a few side effects, such as mild muscle pain and local-site reactions–but these side effects don’t remain for long. Experiencing those mild side effects is negligible compared to the critical complications you face from the actual flu. However, many other kinds of cold viruses spread around during the fall, autumn, and winter months that are responsible for cold and possess similar flu symptoms, a few of them can also include serious complications but are not flu or influenza. Sadly, no vaccine has been discovered yet for those viruses.
Fact 8: Should Patients With Cancer Receive Any Vaccines?
It’s usually advised that flu vaccines should not be given during radiation or chemo treatments – the sole exception to this is the flu shot. This is primarily because flu vaccines require a healthy immune system to function well after being jabbed, and you will not get a proper response during cancer treatment.
A healthy immune system accumulates healthy tissues, cells, and organs that function together to prevent the body from getting an infection by germs, such as viruses or bacteria. Cancer disease and its treatment can weaken an individual’s immune system to function as better as it should. It’s necessary to determine which vaccines are safe and better for people with weak immune systems. Before getting any vaccine doses, you should consult your doctor about your cancer stage, cancer treatment technique, the risk associated with the vaccine-preventable disease, whether you require the vaccine, and the suitable time to receive it.
Flu vaccines, also known as vaccinations or immunizations, are used to aid a person’s immune system in detecting and fighting specific diseases or infections.
This blog is all about educating people with cancer about how they can protect themselves from catching the flu and prevent it from spreading, the flu facts for cancer patients and survivors. This National Influenza Immunization Week, protect yourself from getting the flu. If you have cancer, consider receiving treatment from the University Cancer Centers. We are a private facility that believes in rendering immediate and proper treatment to patients along with an excellent ambiance and personalized cancer care.