Flu / Influenza and Vaccines - Information for Thyroid Patients

Woman with cold on computer at home
Thyroid patients have some important questions about the flu. Cultura RM Exclusive/Colin Hawkins/Getty

If you're a thyroid patient, or have the autoimmune thyroid conditions Hashimoto's or Graves' disease, you may have questions about flu (influenza), the benefits (or risks) of flu shots, and the swine flu risk posed by pork/porcine thyroid medications. These and other questions, as well as helpful resources, about flu for thyroid patients are explored.

Identify a Cold Vs. Flu

One thing that is helpful is to know the difference between a cold and the flu.

While they are both respiratory viruses, the flu is typically associated with much more intense, debilitating, and long-lasting symptoms. While a runny or stuffed nose, congestion, and some fatigue are often associated with a cold, symptoms of flu tend to be more intense, and can include fever, body aches, body pain, extreme fatigue, and coughing, along with the runny or stuffed nose and congestion. Flu is far more likely than a cold to worsen, and require treatment or hospitalization for more serious and complicated health problem, such as pneumonia or bacterial infections.

Thyroid-Specific Information

If you're a thyroid patient, there are several specific articles of interest here at the About.com Thyroid site that relate specifically to flu/influenza.

Do Thyroid Patients Need a Flu Shot?
Whether or not thyroid and autoimmune disease patients should or should not get a flu shot -- the influenza vaccine -- each year is always a controversial and highly-debated question.

Here is a look at some of the considerations, from the conventional view, as well as the perspective of some integrative practitioners who regularly treat thyroid and autoimmune disease patients.

Cough & Cold Medicines and Decongestants: What Should Thyroid Patients Take for Cold and Flu?
Why do over-the-counter cough medicines, cold medicines, and decongestants say "Do Not Take If You Have Thyroid Disease"?

And what CAN you take for cold and flu? This article explains these warnings and cautions, and identifies those over-the-counter products that are safe to take for your cold and flu symptoms. 

Swine Flu and Desiccated Porcine Thyroid Medication From Pigs
A look at whether there is any potential risk of swine flu from the natural thyroid drugs that are made from desiccated porcine thyroid -- derived from pigs.

About.com Flu Resources

About.com health guides offer extensive coverage of influenza information, including the following:

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Influenza/Flu Information

The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintain an up-to-date website that provides information -- including symptoms, prevention ideas, the latest vaccine findings, flu levels in various states, flu drugs and treatments, and much more -- at their main flu site for the latest flu season. Some key links include:

On the Holistic/Integrative Front

About.com has some excellent information on alternative and holistic approaches that may help prevent flu, boost the immune system, or if you do get the flu, help to treat it and the related symptoms naturally. 

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