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Individuals with Alpha-1 are more susceptible to respiratory infections and the consequences of infectious agents affecting the liver. To reduce the risk of experiencing serious complications that may be associated with these potentially fatal infections, vaccinations against influenza, pneumonia, and hepatitis are recommended for all individuals with Alpha-1.

A yearly flu vaccination is recommended for individuals who are at increased risk for serious complications from the flu; these include individuals who are age 50 and older, individuals with chronic pulmonary or heart disease, persons having a compromised immune system, residents of nursing homes, and health care workers. Additionally, it may be prudent for individuals living in the same household as high-risk individuals to also obtain a yearly vaccination.

There is a new form of flu vaccine called FluMist®. Instead of receiving this as a shot or injection, it is sprayed into each nostril. It also differs from a standard flu shot in that it is made from live attenuated virus (virus that has been modified to cause much less severe infection) while the standard flu shot is made from killed virus. As with the standard flu shot, you should not use it if you are allergic to eggs or egg products. Unlike the standard flu shot, FluMist is not recommended for use in individuals with asthma or other pulmonary diseases. In addition, if you have close contact with someone who has received the FluMist vaccine you can become infected with the virus in FluMist. Therefore it is recommended that FluMist not be used in Alphas with lung disease and in family members and other people who have close contact with Alphas with lung disease. 

Currently, there are oral antiviral medications available that, when taken within the first two days of the onset of the illness, can reduce the duration of the disease. These medications cannot cure the flu outright. Although these medications have been approved for prevention of the illness, the flu vaccine remains the single best preventative measure for influenza infection.