Flu Season: Resources for Your Health
People living with HIV/AIDS are considered at higher risk of complications from influenza, including hospitalizations for flu-related heart and lung problems. Although flu activity across the United States has remained low this year, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveillance, an uptick is expected in the coming weeks. (Track flu activity in your area week by week with the Influenza Summary Update map.)
If you haven’t already had a flu shot for the 2013–2014 season, it’s not too late to vaccinate. Although vaccination does not offer guaranteed protection against the flu, it can significantly reduce your risk for the top strains predicted to cause infection in a given year.
Important: People with HIV are advised to receive the traditional injected flu shot, not the nasal spray, which contains a live, weakened form of the influenza virus. (For more facts about who should get the different types of flu shot—and who should skip it altogether—see the CDC FAQ, “HIV/AIDS and the Flu.”)
Looking for other ways to fight the flu? Think you might have influenza, and want to know what to do next? This round-up of online resources can help you protect yourself against infection, recognize flu symptoms, get the treatment you need if you do get sick, and avoid passing the flu on to others.
- Ask A Pharmacist: Gearing Up for Flu Season
Pharmacist Jennifer Cocohoba gets you up to speed on HIV, the flu, and the flu vaccine. (Also, don’t be shy about talking to your own pharmacist or clinician if you have questions about the flu or flu vaccine safety.)
- Healthmap Vaccine Finder
Your medical provider’s office should be able to provide the vaccine, but some find a quick trip to the local pharmacy more convenient. To find a location providing flu shots, visit flushot.healthmap.org and enter your zip code.
- Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits
Six simple habits that can help you avoid getting—or spreading—the flu.
- Flu Symptoms
Check your symptoms to distinguish between true flu and just a bad cold.
- What You Should Know about Flu Antiviral Drugs
If you think you have the flu, contact your clinician right away. As this fact sheet explains, antiviral drugs are available to treat influenza, lessen the severity of symptoms, reduce the risk for serious complications, and shorten the length of time you are sick.
- Self-care for the flu
Tips for feeling better and kicking the flu faster.
How do you take care of yourself when you’re feeling under the weather? Share your own strategies in the comments below.