Heart Failure: Avoiding Colds and Flu

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Heart Failure: Avoiding Colds and Flu

Topic Overview

If you have heart failure, it is important that you do as much as possible to avoid catching colds, the flu, and other respiratory infections. Although these may be relatively minor illnesses in healthy people, they are more dangerous if you have heart failure, and you are at higher risk of developing dangerous complications, such as pneumonia.

  • Wash your hands often, especially when you are around people with colds or the flu. Avoid touching your nose and eyes if possible; germs can enter your body through these mucous membranes.
  • Get a flu shot each fall (usually in late October or early November) and encourage those you live with to do the same, so they won't get the flu and then infect you.
  • Get a pneumococcal vaccine shot. Usually, people need only one dose of the pneumococcal vaccine. But doctors sometimes recommend a second dose for some people, especially if they have a long-term disease. Talk with your doctor about whether you need a second dose.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Last Revised October 14, 2010

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