Why the Flu Vaccine Is So Important
Getting the flu when you have asthma can be dangerous. Here's why you should get a flu shot.
The flu is a nasty bug that can put you on your back for days. Coupled with asthma, it can be even more serious, sometimes deadly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children and adults who have asthma receive a flu shot every year.
Why? The flu, and other respiratory viruses, can make lung function worse and trigger severe asthma attacks. Plus, people who have asthma and get the flu are more likely to develop pneumonia and other serious complications. Yet many adults and children with asthma don't get a flu shot.
Is it safe?
The flu shot is safe for adults and children with asthma because it's made from inactive viruses. People with asthma should not be given the nasal spray flu vaccine, which contains weakened live viruses.
Healthy lungs, clean hands
In addition to getting a flu shot, it's very important for people with asthma and other chronic health conditions to practice good hand hygiene, especially during cold and flu season.
When airborne germs stick to your hands and you rub your eyes, nose, or mouth, you can become infected.
Use warm, running water and a mild, preferably liquid soap. Antibacterial soaps may be used but are not required. Wet your hands and apply a small amount (dime to quarter size) of liquid soap. Rub your hands together vigorously until a soapy lather appears, and continue for at least 20 seconds. Scrub between your fingers, under your fingernails, and around the tops and palms. Rinse under warm running water, and leave the water running while you dry your hands with a clean, disposable towel. Turn the faucet off using the paper towel as a barrier between your hands and the faucet handle.
Daley MF, Beaty BL, Barrow J, et al. Missed opportunities for influenza vaccination in children with chronic medical conditions. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. 2005;159:986-991. Accessed: 05/24/2011 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Flu shot recommended for people with asthma. Accessed: 05/24/2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults with asthma should receive flu vaccination. Accessed: 05/24/2011