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Heart Failure: Avoiding Colds and Flu

Topic Overview

If you have heart failure, it is important that you do as much as possible to avoid catching colds, the flu, and other respiratory infections. Although these may be relatively minor illnesses in healthy people, they are more dangerous if you have heart failure, and you are at higher risk for dangerous complications, such as pneumonia.

  • Wash your hands often, especially when you are around people with colds or the flu. Avoid touching your nose and eyes if possible. Germs can enter your body through these mucous membranes.
  • Get the flu vaccine each year, as soon as it's available. Encourage those you live with to do the same, so they won't get the flu and then infect you.
  • Get the pneumococcal vaccine. Ask your doctor how many doses you need.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Last Revised November 15, 2012

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