Everyone with Asthma Needs a Flu Shot This Year
It’s that time of year once again. I’m talking about peak season for that dreaded influenza, commonly known as “the flu.”
It’s important that people with asthma get an annual flu shot each year, preferably in the fall. Doing so not only protects the person who gets the shot, but also everyone they come into contact with.
But for people with asthma, it’s not just about stopping the spread of the flu. It’s also a crucial step in keeping your asthma under control and preventing serious complications that might end you up in the hospital, or worse.
How people with asthma can help stop the spread of the flu
Taking these 3 steps, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), are something we all should strive for each year.1
1. Get vaccinated
The CDC specifies that if you’re 6 months of age or older, you need to get a flu shot each year. If you’re considered high risk, which people with asthma are, it’s even more important.
2. Stop the spread of germs
Stay away from anyone you know who is already sick. If you become sick yourself, stay home from work or school. Take the time to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
And then you can also keep following the components of a healthy lifestyle, which will keep you stronger and better able to fight off infection. This would include getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night, finding ways to defuse any undue stress, maintaining an active life, eating nutritious food, and making sure to stay well hydrated.1
3. If you do get the flu, see your doctor right away
Your doctor may be able to prescribe certain antiviral medicines. These drugs can lessen the impact of the flu on your respiratory system, should you come down with it.
Why people with asthma need a flu shot
The bottom line is that people with asthma are at high risk of developing serious flu complications. if they get the flu. Even if your asthma is mild or your symptoms are well-controlled by medication, you can easily end up with pneumonia, need to be hospitalized, and even at risk of dying from the complications.2
Think about it--you already have swollen and sensitive airways. The flu, which is a respiratory infection, is likely to magnify those effects. You’ll need to be on the alert for more frequent and severe asthma attacks, as well as the overall symptoms with the flu.
Your flu shot is your best protection against the flu.
How the flu is shaping up this year
We are currently at the peak of seasonal flu activity in the United States. According to the CDC, there have been at least 13 million flu illnesses, 120,000 hospitalizations and 6,600 deaths from flu so far this season.3 Puerto Rico and the following southern states are having unusually high levels of flu activity already:
Although experts say it’s too early to be sure, they predict that the vaccine this year will be more effective against the circulating viruses this year than it was last flu season.4
Although it’s better to get your flu shot in the fall, it is not too late to get vaccinated this year. Flu season can extend into the spring, so better late than never.
Facts about the 2019-2020 flu shots
The CDC shared the following about this year’s flu immunizations:4
- The most common kind of flu shots used for most people over the age of 12 and under the age of 65 are designed to immunize patients against 4 separate flu viruses.
- Flu vaccines produced this year were from viruses grown in cells, rather than eggs. Therefore, people with egg allergies no longer need to be concerned.
- There are many different options available. For example, there are high dose flu shots for people over age 65. Some people without asthma may even be able to get a nasal flu vaccine.
- It is not possible to get the flu from a flu shot!
As you may know, you have various flu vaccine choices available. Remember, though, that if you or your child are age 6 months and older, you need to be immunized against the flu each and every year. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about the flu or flu vaccine.
Where and how to get a flu vaccine
If you see your asthma doctor on a regular basis, it may be easiest to get the flu vaccine during a routine office visit. If that doesn’t work out, though, the HealthMap Vaccine Finder may be able to steer you in the right direction for finding where else to get a flu vaccine in your area. For example, I got mine at our local grocery store pharmacy!
Getting a flu shot is an important annual step for people with asthma who want to stay as healthy as possible and prevent serious respiratory complications.
It’s not too late! If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet this year, don’t just take your chances. Get it as soon as possible, because it can take up to 2 weeks to provide full protection against infection. Fight the flu by doing your part.
Do you experience allergies and/or sensitivities?