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Everyone with Asthma Needs a Flu Shot This Year

Peak flu season is rapidly approaching. That means every person who has asthma needs to get their annual flu shot as soon as possible. The best way to prevent the spread of influenza (called “the flu” for short) is for everyone to get a flu shot each year. But for people with asthma, it’s not just about stopping the spread of the flu. It’s about keeping your asthma under control and preventing serious complications that might end you up in the hospital, or worse.

Top 3 actions to stop the flu

The Centers for Disease Control recommends these 3 main steps to take in order to stop the flu.1

1. Get vaccinated

Everyone 6 months of age or older should get a flu shot each year. This is especially true of people considered high risk, which includes those who have asthma.

2. Stop the spread of germs

Washing your hands thoroughly and often and avoiding sick people are your best bets. If you become sick, stay home from work or school. Other things you can do include: getting plenty of sleep, managing your stress, staying physically active, eating nutritious food, and drinking plenty of fluids.1

3. If you do get the flu, see your doctor right away

There are prescription antiviral medicines that can greatly lessen the severity and the lengthiness of the flu, 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. These include pneumonia, hospitalization, and even death.2 This is true even if your asthma is mild or your symptoms are well-controlled by medication!

Think about it–you already have swollen and sensitive airways. The flu, which is a respiratory infection, will only worsen those effects. You may notice an increase in asthma attacks and your overall symptoms with the flu.

Your flu shot is your best protection against the flu.

How the flu is shaping up this year

So far, seasonal flu activity in the United States continues to rise, but how much and which viruses are dominant varies by region.3 Puerto Rico and the following southern states are having unusually high levels of flu activity already:

  • Louisiana
  • Texas
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • Georgia

Experts do expect the accuracy of the vaccine to better match the circulating viruses this year than it did last year.4

Flu vaccination generally begins during early fall, but it is not too late to get vaccinated.

Facts about the 2019-2020 flu shots

Here are some facts the Centers for Disease Control has provided about this season’s flu shots:4

  • All standard dose flu shots (what most people over the age of 12 and under the age of 65 get) contain vaccine for 4 different flu viruses.
  • All shots made this year were made 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, including high dose flu shots for people over age 65 and even nasal flu vaccines. Although the nasal spray vaccine is generally not recommended for people with asthma.
  • You cannot get the flu from a flu vaccine!

You have various flu vaccine choices to choose from, as mentioned above. But, the most important thing to remember is that all people age 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. If you have any questions at all about which vaccine option is right for you, talk to your doctor.

Where and how to get a flu vaccine

For people who have asthma and see a doctor regularly, the easiest way to get the flu vaccine may be just to get your shot during a routine office visit. However, if that’s not convenient for you, the HealthMap Vaccine Finder may be able to help you find where to get a flu vaccine in your area.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. CDC. Prevent Seasonal Flu. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/index.html?deliveryName=USCDC_7_3%20-%20DM14194. Accessed 30 November 2019.
  2. CDC. Flu and People with Asthma. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/asthma.htm. Accessed 30 Novermber 2019.
  3. CDC Influenza Division. FluView: A Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/#ILINet. Accessed 30 November 2019.
  4. CDC. Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2019-2020 Season. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2019-2020.htm?deliveryName=USCDC_7_3-DM13328. Accessed 30 November 2019.

Comments

  • Shellzoo
    8 hours ago

    As a nurse, I know how absolutely important the flu shot is. Not only does it protect us, it protects others who are at risk for complications from the flu. Often I see friends post to social media that they never get the flu shot or get sick yet later post how they caught the flu. It can take weeks for the lungs to recover after the flu. Great advice!

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