Nephrology Associates of Michigan (NAM) was founded in 1974, it has enjoyed the trust of patients and referring physicians throughout Southeast Michigan.
You may not be expecting to have to get a shot at your kidney doctor’s office, but immunizations are an important part of your CKD (chronic kidney disease) management. Patients with CKD have a weakened immune system, and this can leave CKD patients with less ability to fight off infections and viruses. The most commonly recommended vaccines for CKD patients include an annual influenza (flu) vaccine, pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccination, and hepatitis B vaccination. Don’t be surprised if any of these vaccinations are recommended by your kidney doctor!
Vaccines are a hot topic in the news these days, in particular because there has been a lot of misleading information given to the public about vaccination safety. Most of this information is being circulated by people who have no medical knowledge. People have even been taking medical recommendations from their favorite celebrity or politician! This confusion has led to a spike in the amount of people choosing against vaccination. As a consequence of the anti-vaccination movement, diseases which were previously eradicated are now making a comeback, and a lot of these diseases are deadly. Dr. Oz and The Doctors are NOT your personal physicians and it is very important to keep in mind that the general medical advice given on such television shows is often not appropriate for someone with kidney disease.
So how can you make sure that you are getting the right information about vaccination?
Bottom line: Your physicians, who know your personal medical history, are your best information source. We would be happy to address any concerns that you may have about the appropriateness and safety of vaccinations. We can also help dispel any myths that exist surrounding vaccination (e.g., the flu vaccine CANNOT cause the flu!). There are also certain websites which are accurate and helpful, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/ and the National Kidney Foundation website at https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/vaccinations.
Besides receiving the recommended vaccines, other ways to help avoid sickness include practicing frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizers, and staying away from sick people, but these tactics, may not always work. Vaccination is your best bet in protecting yourself against potentially deadly preventable diseases. It also is very helpful when patients keep a record of their prior immunization history. This is generally obtainable from your primary care physician. This will minimize the risk that important vaccinations are missed, are delayed, or potentially even given twice.
If you decide against vaccination, there is one more factor which I would like you to consider. If you do come down with an illness that could have been prevented by the vaccination that you have refused, then those around you are at risk to contract the illness from you… and it’s your family members and friends who you have then placed at risk. Your personal decision to forgo vaccination doesn’t just effect your health, but effects the health of the people around you as well.
Play a role in protecting your health! Ask questions! Stay healthy!
Dr. Rachel Brock