October 20, 2020 at 7:00 pm #23246
I wrote this topic at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The same rules apply. The flus season is upon us once again and lets all please be careful. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has been in the news the past several weeks. The virus has now crept into the U.S. It was only a matter of time before U.S. residents would be infected with the virus. Millions of people travel every day and it would be almost impossible to contain the virus in one small area, especially since some who are infected do not exhibit symptoms. Every March since I received my single lung transplant in December 2015, I have contracted an upper respiratory virus. Last year the virus I caught was coronavirus, however it was the regular strain.
My transplant team was fearful I would eventually get the flu or pneumonia since my immune system is suppressed because of the anti-rejection medicines I take. The flu is currently more dangerous and inflicts its damage upon many more people than the COVID-19. We should all practice our hygienic safety tips;
- Clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
- Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or flexed elbow
- Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
I recently read an article titled; Why is the Flu So Dangerous? Our bodies are compromised because of the lung disease we have. I think it’s important to recognize symptoms of the flu to possibly lessen the time the flu is active in our bodies. Please read the article.
I am curious to know how our members react when they notice they have a fever. Do you immediately call the doctor or go to a medical center? Do you begin to take over the counter medicines to alleviate the symptoms associated with the fever?
October 21, 2020 at 12:17 pm #25870Wendy DirksParticipant
Hi, Mark –
Interesting question about fevers! For many years I have avoided anything that reduces a fever as our immune systems work better at higher body temperatures than normal. Only if I am desperately ill or my body temperature has reached dangerous levels will I take anything or if the fever is accompanied by unbearable headaches or other painful symptoms. My completely anecdotal evidence is that my husband doses himself up on everything on the market when he has the same upper respiratory infections that I have and I always get well faster by allowing my body temperature to stay above normal. The last fever I had was in response to the flu jab this year – very mild. It’s the first time I’ve had a flu jab while on immunosuppressants.
I’m always far more concerned about my oxygen saturation than my body temperature. Plus there has been some interesting research published lately about how our body temperatures are probably normally lower than what is considered normal and we should rethink what constitutes a fever.
I used to get a terrible chest infection every autumn as something in the air sets causes inflammation in my lungs and any wandering viral particle causes me to become ill. The only good thing I can say about the pandemic is that since I haven’t left the house without a mask since March, I’m not really exposed to viruses in the general population anymore. I only go out for medical appointments. May we all have a flu-free flu season!
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Charlene Marshall. Reason: tagging
October 21, 2020 at 8:16 pm #25875
Hello Wendy, thank you for sharing. I totally agree about not contracting anything else during this pandemic. You also make valid points about body temperature and over the counter medicines. Thank you, Mark
October 22, 2020 at 4:04 pm #25886Donald Salzberg MDParticipant
Excellent point made. As for what is truly a “fever” you are absolutely right. If your baseline body temperature is 97.5 then 98.6 is “elevated!”
As we have compromised lungs any flu or COVID is worrisome. Women over 50 are at a high risk of “long COVID” and must ge extra cautious. I did get the high-dose flu shot and also the Prevnar 23 pneumonia vaccine. I think the Prevnar 13 will ultimately be replaced with the 23? I was able to get both of these on the sane day (different arms). Prevnar 23 is available at your PCP and high-dose flu (harder to find) at pharmacies.
Mild fevers and diarrhea can also be Covid. Being on OFEV whenever i get hit with diarrhea (relatively rare now after two years) I’m ready to write it off as a banner OFEV day. I continue to be vigilant and careful but i can’t get everything i need on line. I agree that it’s best to let the fever runs it’s course.
Don Salzberg MD
October 23, 2020 at 4:39 am #25901
Hello Dr. Salzberg, thank you for sharing. Your expertise is always welcomed. Breathe easy, Mark.
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