Flu season is once again upon us, as are regular reminders to get a flu shot. If you have concerns about influenza and whether or not you should receive inoculation, consult with your doctor. If arthritis or another type of joint pain factors into your concern, it is natural to feel hesitant, and want what is best for your health.
Is there a connection between the flu and joint pain? The Center for Disease Control reports that about eight percent of people in the United States come down with the flu each year. Flu shots taken as the seasons change may work to prevent illness and spread. According to the CDC, the US averages close to forty thousand flu deaths a year. While this number seems low, it is important to be mindful of the illness if you are at risk.
People at high risk of catching the flu include:
- Senior citizens aged 65 and older
- Pregnant women and infants/toddlers under the age of 2
- People who suffer respiratory illnesses, like asthma
- People with weakened immune systems due to age or illness
When you become ill, existing conditions like joint pain may become more difficult to manage. Preventative treatment may ease an increase in stiffness and pain. It’s important to stay hydrated for your joints in the colder months, and to minimize your exposure to the flu. Wash your hands regularly to prevent germ spread.
For those living with chronic joint pain, you might consider a flu shot if you are also over 65 or suffer other conditions that could deteriorate with the flu. If you decide to get vaccinated, however, it is not recommended to take the nasal spray. Also known as LAIV, this is a live attenuated vaccine that can negatively affect people with chronic pain. Some may be attracted to this vaccine to avoid needles, but it can cause problems.
If you have concerns about any vaccine having an adverse affect on your joints, the physicians at Bon Secours Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer and how we can help you with pain management and non-surgical options.