As this year’s influenza (flu) virus reaches its peak in Michigan, we at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center stress to our heart patients the importance of taking necessary precautions to avoid getting the flu — or to minimize their symptoms if they do get the flu. This includes patients whose heart health is being managed as well as our pre-op and post-op patients.
Here are some important tips for fighting the flu:
- First and foremost, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we recommend everyone, including heart patients, get an annual flu vaccine. If you’re a heart patient scheduled for surgery, you should get the flu vaccine one month prior to your surgery date. Even though this year’s flu vaccine is not an ideal match, the CDC says it can still offer important protection and help prevent serious flu complications.
- If you develop flu symptoms, see your doctor right away for an antiviral medication such as Tamiflu, which can lessen your symptoms. The sooner you see your doctor, the better you’ll be able to manage your symptoms.
- Keep germs at bay. The CDC recommends these methods to prevent the spread of germs:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you (or your child) get sick with flu-like illness, you (or your child) should stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to seek medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
- If you become sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
Take the next step:
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.