Bad Flu Season
Overall, it seems were are having a bad flu season with many visits to outpatient clinics for a “flu like illness.”
Flu vaccination is an essential part of both your and your child’s overall wellness plan. Everyone in your home should be vaccinated for the most protection. Flu vaccination not only reduces everyone’s risk of infection in the home, but also you and your child’s risk of flu related complications.
Respiratory flu infections are more serious in asthma patients. Like many other infections, flu may lead to lung inflammation and other symptoms such as:
However, it is not just you and your child’s asthma symptoms that get worse. Flu may lead to serious infections like pneumonia. In fact, both adults and children with asthma are more likely to be hospitalized with acute respiratory infections during flu outbreaks than patients without asthma. The best thing you can do to prevent a flu infection this year is to get vaccinated. While it takes a couple of weeks to develop maximal immunity, the current flu outbreak is not showing signs of slowing down.
Which Flu Vaccine Is Recommended For Preventing Flu in Asthmatics?
Because a flu vaccination is the single best tool in preventing flu in asthmatics, it is important to know which vaccination is best for you. Be careful as I have seen some patients inadvertently given the wrong flu vaccine resulting in an asthma attack. There are currently two available flu vaccines:
In general, asthmatics should receive the intramuscular flu shot, rather than the nasal flu vaccine. Depending on your child’s age, your child may need more than one injection, or a different dose from you.
Why Can’t My Child Get the Intra-nasal Flu Vaccine Since He Hates Shots?
Because there is concern that inhaling the vaccine may lead to an acute asthma exacerbation (I see this at least once per flu season), the nasal flu vaccine is not recommended for asthmatics. In fact, the package insert warns against giving the intra-nasal vaccine to asthmatics or anyone with a recent episode of wheezing.
Did you get the flu vaccine this year? Why or why not?
Centers For Disease Control & Prevention. Accessed February 5, 2014. Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine
Ford ES, Mannino DM, Williams AG. Accessed February 5, 2014. Asthma and Influenza Vaccination Chest September 2003 vol. 124 no. 3 783-789.
Rank MA, Li JT. Clinical pearls for preventing, diagnosing, and treating seasonal and 2009 H1N1 influenza infection in patients with asthma. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Accessed February 5, 2014.