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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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What to Know if You Have HIV/AIDS and the Flu

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Should I Get a Pneumonia Vaccine?

Pneumonia means any infection of the lung. The pneumonia vaccine prevents one specific type of pneumonia that’s caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. This is the most common kind in the U.S. outside of hospitals and institutions.

The CDC says anyone at high risk for pneumonia, which includes people with HIV or AIDS, should get the vaccine. One dose is usually enough, but your doctor may suggest a second round.

How Can I Prevent Complications?

Good hygiene can lower your chances of getting a viral or bacterial infection. Tell family members and friends to cover their mouths when they cough, wash their hands frequently, and avoid rubbing their eyes after touching surfaces.

You’ll also want to avoid crowds during flu season. To avoid extra stress on your immune system, get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid stress. Stay away from cigarette smoke and other things that pollute the air.

What Are Some Flu Symptoms?

The flu usually starts with a sudden fever, headache, fatigue, and body aches. Keep an eye out for these symptoms:

Can I Take Antiviral Drugs?

The CDC says people with HIV or AIDS who are exposed to the flu should get antiviral drugs for 7 days so they don’t develop the illness. If you do get it, take antivirals within the first 2 days of getting sick. They’re available by prescription from your doctor. It’s OK to take these medications with the drugs you take to manage HIV.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

When you have HIV or AIDS, you have to take your health seriously. Talk to your doctors at the first sign of flu or other illness.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on January 21, 2015
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