Your health is important—really important—so naturally, you want to make the best decisions for your body. However, at times, that gets tricky, especially if you have a compromised immune system.
So when it comes to vaccinations, what do you do? Sure, you’ve heard of the benefits of vaccinations, but do they become too risky for patients with certain diseases?
That’s when it becomes even more important to make knowledgeable, thought-through decisions because the complexity of mixing a compromised immune system with vaccinations often involves difficult decision-making.
But most importantly, talk to your doctor about the risks associated with vaccines. This breakdown however, may help, too:
Who qualifies as “immunocompromised”?
Your immune system can be compromised in several different ways. One example is an immunodeficiency, such as an acquired disease, like HIV. Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID) is another condition that can compromise your immune system.
Common autoimmune inflammatory diseases can leave your immune system weak, too. These diseases include ailments, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Chron’s disease and others.
Which vaccines pose a risk?
So-called “live” vaccines carry the biggest risk for immunocompromised patients. Examples? Herpes zoster (shingles), the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, and yellow fever. The FluMist version of the flu vaccine is also live. So, what’s the problem? Instead of a gentle “poke” to the immune system to create antibodies as it would for “typical” patients, a live vaccine might make someone with a compromised system ill because of the underlying problems with their immune system.
Are vaccines always off limits?
Nope, not necessarily. If you have a compromised system, check in with your doctor about the risks and benefits that are specific to your condition. That’s the key—your doctor will know what your possible side effects could be and whether or not you’re an appropriate candidate for particular vaccines.
After your appointment, weigh your options carefully and make the best decision for yourself given your condition. But don’t forget, your doctor is happy to help, and should walk you through the process of deciding to vaccinate or not.
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