Dealing with Crohn’s Disease is challenging on its own, and when the flu or a cold strikes, managing symptoms becomes even more complex, particularly for those on immunosuppressants. If you have Crohn’s Disease and are taking immunosuppressant drugs, taking care of your immune system during the cold and flu season is crucial. Here are seven essential tips to help you navigate this challenging time and minimize the impact of illnesses on your health.
1. Prioritize Vaccinations
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the flu and certain respiratory infections is to stay up-to-date on vaccinations. This is especially critical for individuals with Crohn’s Disease, who are more susceptible to infections, irrespective of whether they’re on immunosuppressant drugs.
Ensure that you receive your annual flu shot and discuss other relevant vaccines with your healthcare provider. It is generally safe to take the flu shot over the nasal flu vaccine, especially if you are on immunosuppressants, as live vaccines can pose risks to those with weakened immune systems.
2. Maintain Good Hygiene Practices
Simple yet effective, maintaining good hygiene practices can significantly reduce your risk of catching a cold or the flu. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in public spaces.
Consider carrying hand sanitizer for situations where soap and water are not readily available. This becomes even more crucial when you’re on immunosuppressants.
Additional protective measures like acupuncture, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can also help strengthen your immune system.
3. Stay Informed and Plan Ahead
Keep yourself informed about the prevalence of flu and cold outbreaks in your area. If an outbreak is anticipated, take extra precautions to minimize your exposure. Plan your outings strategically and avoid crowded places when possible. Planning ahead can help you stay one step ahead of potential illness, considering the increased susceptibility due to immunosuppressant drugs.
4. Boost Your Immune System
Given the challenges of managing Crohn’s Disease and the impact of immunosuppressants, maintaining a robust immune system is crucial.
Additionally, genetic factors associated with Crohn’s may compromise your body’s ability to fight off viruses, leading to