Staying Protected as an Immunocompromised Individual

Staying Protected as an Immunocompromised Individual

Living as an immunocompromised individual comes with a unique set of challenges. Whether it is due to a medical condition or immunosuppressive medication, being immunocompromised requires a heightened awareness of one’s health and surroundings.Read on to learn more about what it means to be immunocompromised and how individuals can overcome these obstacles they face daily.  

What does it mean to be immunocompromised?

To put it simply, immunocompromised individuals have weakened immune systems, making them more vulnerable to infections and illnesses. Depending on why one’s immune system is compromised, this state can either be permanent or temporary.   

When receiving vaccinations what should I know?

Vaccinations are generally safe for immunocompromised individuals, but their effectiveness can vary. Some vaccines may not provide as strong an immune response in them, therefore they might require additional precautions. Additionally, it is important to note non-live vaccines are typically more safe for immunocompromised individuals than live vaccines, which in rare cases, could sometimes cause the disease.   

As the temperatures drop and seasons change, the annual flu season is approaching too. It is recommended that those who are immunocompromised receive the inactivated (non-live) flu vaccination before the start of the new season to help reduce the risk of getting the flu or reduce symptoms if one does get the flu. According to the CDC, however, people with weakened immune systems due to any case should not receive a nasal spray vaccine.   

On another front, those living with immunocompromised patients should also receive their annual vaccination, as well as practice good hand hygiene and avoid close contact when feeling unwell to better protect those with more vulnerable immune systems. 

Patients who are immunocompromised should speak to their doctor about the unique risks and how to stay protected from preventable diseases during this cold and flu season. Though being immunocompromised is not without its challenges, it can lead to advocacy and contribute to a more resilient community. 

For more information about living as an immunocompromised individual, check out this article from the CDC. Remember to protect yourself and loved ones this season by getting your flu vaccine at a nearby Community Health Center. Click here to find one of West Virginia's 31 Community Health Center Organizations, with more than 400 locations across the state.

The WVPCA is the largest organized primary care network in the state.