Hep C and Getting the Flu Shot
Last updated: November 2022
As winter rolls around, you may be considering whether or not to get your seasonal flu shots. When you have hepatitis C, are undergoing treatment for hepatitis C or are living with post-cure health issues, it is important to arm yourself with things that can increase your body's immune response.
This is especially important during cold and flu season. Today we will look at why getting your flu shot is a step in the right direction for protecting your immunity when you live with hep C this winter.
Getting vaccinated for flu
Covid-19 changed the landscape of the world and the lives of many, often for the negative. One ‘silver lining’ of the pandemic was an increase in the general understanding of and support for vaccines.
Many of us have had multiple vaccines for Covid-19 at this point, and I can empathize that getting poked again and again can certainly be exhausting.
People who have had Covid-19 may incorrectly assume that their fleeting Covid-19 immunity protects them from influenza.
However, that is untrue. The reality is that both influenza and coronavirus can pose an increased risk of severe health complications and death in persons who have other underlying health issues. Including hepatitis C and certain extrahepatic manifestations.1,2
To give you a better idea of why extrahepatic manifestations should be considered when deciding to get a flu shot, I will use an example from my own life. I am several years post-treatment and have successfully attained SVR.
Vaccines that offer protection
In other words, I have not been hepatitis c positive for many years. However, I have cryoglobulinemia, a vascular and immune-affecting disorder that puts me in an immune-compromised status.
I have this disease due to having had a long-term hepatitis C infection. Unfortunately, unlike hepatitis C, there is no cure for cryo.
I require treatment for the rest of my life. I am also at a unique risk of developing complications from influenza. My compromised immune system needs a boost to increase the likelihood of it not happening.
The Vasculitis Foundation recommends speaking with your doctor about receiving the influenza vaccine as a preventative measure and vaccines for pneumonia and shingles.3
Cold and flu season can be rough, especially when living with a diagnosis like hepatitis C. Luckily, there are some simple preventative steps to minimize our risk of transmitting the flu or experiencing severe complications due to influenza.
Getting vaccinated for the flu is a step in the right direction! Speak with a healthcare provider you trust to determine if getting your flu shot is the right decision for you.
Did you get your flu shot this year? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!