The weather has been inclement these past few days. From light showers to thunderstorms, to heavy rainfalls, we’ve had our shares of bad weather here in The Philippines. For many who has endured worse typhoon seasons, this change seems to be just another wet season routine. But for kidney failure and dialysis patients like me, time has come to batten up and fortify ourselves from the effects of these weather changes. Now is the good time to get vaccines and be protected from viruses that proliferate during these season.
People suffering from kidney failure or those who are undergoing treatment like me are considered as immunocompromised. Meaning I have a weak immune system and prone to catching disease and viruses more often than the normal population. I need to be careful mingling with crowds and isolate myself from family members that has a flu or cold. Let me reiterate that this type of isolation is not social discrimination. I do it for the purpose of prevention and protection. But what if you’re unable to avoid a crowd, or isolate yourself from a sick family member altogether? Well, you just need to boost up your protection by having yourself immunized. How?
GET VACCINATED Remember the old adage - An ounce of prevention is still much better than a pound of cure. Click To Tweet
Types of vaccines a kidney failure patient needs
Whether you’re on dialysis, or having various complications, or considering your age or where you live can determine what type of vaccinations you need. The three common vaccines people suffering from kidney failure receives are: Influenza, Pneumococcal, and Hepatitis.
- Influenza – The influenza vaccine, also known as “the flu shot,” helps deter flu-like complications from entering the body. Symptoms of the flu include headaches, body aches, high fever, sore throat, fatigue and a runny nose, among other things. The flu virus may be contracted from
everyday, person-to-person contact in which germs can spread.
- Pneumococcal – Called the Pneumovax 23, this vaccine protects against 23 different types of infectious bacteria pneumonia. Typically, symptoms of pneumonia begin slowly. They include high fever, chills, coughing, headaches, trouble breathing, chest pains and muscle aches, among other symptoms. During an exam, the doctor can identify pneumonia when hearing a patient’s wheezing or broken up breathing pattern, and may order a chest x-ray and blood work.
- Hepatitis B – The hepatitis B vaccine can inhibit a person from becoming infected with the virus. Hepatitis B can develop if a person is exposed to contaminated blood or if the patient exchanges fluids with a person who has the virus. Hepatitis B is a blood-borne organism – not airborne – so you will not contract it through regular contact, such as hugging another person, someone sneezing or coughing in the same room, shaking hands or eating and drinking. Some people may not have symptoms, but if they do, the symptoms are similar to the flu. Blood tests are done to determine if someone has been exposed to hepatitis B.
Boost your immune system through your diet
You can further boost your immune system through your diet. Certain foods like Yogurt, Beef, Tea, Chicken Soup and Sweet Potatoes help fortify your immune system and further protects you from catching disease and viruses. But be sure to check with your renal dietitian first before including these foods in your diet, as some of them could be high on certain minerals like potassium and sodium. High amounts of these minerals wold do you more harm than good so always check with your renal dietitian before including them in your diet.
It’s already difficult coping with kidney failure, even harder with the rigors of dialysis treatment. Don’t add any more suffering to your already painful existence. It would be prudent to take steps to ease and prevent further burden through complications. Getting yourself vaccine shots and boosting your immune system is the best gift you can give yourself this wet season.
Remember the old adage – “An ounce of prevention is still much better than a pound of cure.”