Flu vaccine recommended for people with asthma
MILWAUKEE—With flu season just around the corner, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) is recommending that people with asthma and other chronic health conditions receive a flu vaccination as soon as possible.
Each year, millions of people in the United States get influenza. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 36,000 people per year in the United States die from influenza, and over 200,000 people have to be admitted to the hospital as a result of the flu.
Influenza is typically spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing via respiratory droplets. If someone with the flu coughs on you, there is a high chance you will develop flu symptoms within four days after the initial exposure to that person. Common flu symptoms include:
- Muscle aches and tenderness
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
“Symptoms of influenza can be especially severe for patients with respiratory diseases, such as asthma,” said Richard A. Nicklas, MD, FAAAAI, Chair of the AAAAI’s Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment Interest Section. “In severe cases, influenza can cause pneumonia, may require hospitalization and sometimes can be fatal.”
Research has found that the flu vaccine decreases the risk of asthma exacerbations in patients by as much as 22% to 41%. In addition, it can also protect against acute asthma exacerbations in children. Vaccinating all children with asthma could prevent up to 78% of asthma hospitalizations and emergency room visits during influenza seasons.
The flu season usually ranges from November through March, and peaks in December, January and February. It takes approximately two weeks to develop immunity from the vaccine so it is important to get vaccinated each fall in October or November, before the flu season begins.
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. If you feel sick with flu-like symptoms after being vaccinated, you may have caught another respiratory virus or already had the flu virus in your system when you received the vaccine.