Those with Bowel Disease Get Your Flu Shot
About one in 200 Americans has been diagnosed with IBD, which causes chronic inflammation of the intestines. The most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, while ulcerative colitis is primarily restricted to the colon or large intestine. The cause of IBD is not known.
Symptoms may include abdominal cramps and pain, bloody diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, and anemia. In severe cases, patients may require hospitalization and surgery. Fortunately, many IBD sufferers can control these symptoms by taking medications.
However, Dr. Freddy Caldera, a UW Health gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, says some commonly used IBD medicines can suppress the immune system.
“If you have IBD, you should get vaccinated for influenza, pneumonia and pertussis,” he said. “Medicines for IBD can lower your immune system, and getting the flu virus can be a lot more serious in someone who is immunosuppressed. Thus, it is extremely important for IBD patients to get their vaccinations.”
Caldera said if someone with IBD does catch the flu, IBD medications might be held or delayed until the fever resolves. However, once the illness has run its course, he stresses the importance of resuming treatment for IBD, even if the patient has no IBD symptoms.
“Sometimes patients may not think the medicine is working or think it is necessary to take it when they are feeling well,” he said. “However, research has shown that if you stop taking the medicines, you are at a significant risk to relapse within a year. I tell patients that I know it’s inconvenient to take this medicine when they are feeling well, but they should remember that if they stay on it, it will help prevent another flare-up.”
Read full article at Message to Those with Bowel Diseases: Get Your Flu Shot
Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, while ulcerative colitis is primarily restricted to the colon or large intestine. The cause of IBD is not known. Symptoms may include abdominal cramps and pain, bloody diarrhea, fever …