by Tana Moz, RN
’Tis the season: What’s your flu IQ?
Flu season lasts through May, so roll up that sleeve. Yes, most HIV positive people
can safely get the shot, but if your CD4s are low, ask Doc.
And no—once and for all—the shot won’t give you flu. “Injectable flu vaccines are inactivated—you can’t ‘catch’ anything from them,” says Gerri Cotter, RN. While you may feel lousy after the shot, she adds, “Low fever, aches or swollen joints mean your immune system is making antibodies.” Viral loads may blip briefly too. Also:
n If you have a fever or acute infection, postpone your shot. Allergic to eggs? Skip the vax altogether and get prescription meds if exposed to flu.
- Avoid FluMist nasal vaccine, which contains live virus.
- Get friends and family vaccinated to curtail germs.
- To block bacterial pneumonia, those with CD4s above 200 should get a Pneumovax shot every five years too.
- Your local clinic or doctor can vaccinate you. See you next year.