For people with asthma, having the flu can increase the risk of asthma attacks. People with asthma who have the flu are also at greater risk of developing pneumonia. It is therefore important for people with asthma to receive the flu vaccine.
Influenza, or the flu, is a viral disease that affects the respiratory tract.
Asthma is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and contraction of the airways. Although these conditions are different, both affect the respiratory tract and may interact in a way that affects people with asthma.
People with asthma who get the flu are more vulnerable to developing pneumonia, a complication of the flu. Therefore, it is
This article explores how the flu affects people with asthma. It also provides safe protocols for receiving the flu vaccine as a person with asthma and information about flu treatment and prevention for people with asthma.
To understand how the flu can affect people with asthma, it is worth being clear on what these conditions are and what they mean for those who have them.
The name for an acute exacerbation of asthma is an asthma attack. Symptoms include:
Both asthma itself and asthma attacks have various triggers, which may again differ from person to person. The following are
- stress and other psychological factors
- tobacco smoke
- gastroesophageal reflux disease
- chronic sinusitis
- insects and plants
- chemical fumes
The review mentioned above also notes that viral respiratory tract infections can trigger asthma. As another
A variety of influenza viruses can cause the flu, which often comes in seasonal epidemics. In temperate parts of the world, these epidemics usually arise during autumn and winter. The flu can be fatal for certain groups of people, including:
- older individuals
- pregnant people
- immunocompromised individuals
For this reason, doctors often recommend that at risk groups receive seasonal flu vaccines. These can
As already noted, the flu can trigger asthma attacks. But because a flu infection can cause further inflammation of the airways, such infections can also worsen asthma symptoms in general. Having asthma can also make a person more likely to develop complications from the flu, including pneumonia.
Among children who need hospital treatment for the flu, asthma is the
Generally speaking, the flu vaccine is a potent defense against influenza infections. The
The injectable flu vaccine is not the only form of flu vaccination, however. There is also a nasal spray vaccine. The
There is good scientific evidence that flu vaccines can help people with asthma. A 2017 meta-analysis found that people with asthma are
As well as taking the flu vaccine, people with asthma can take preventive measures to reduce their chances of infection with the influenza virus. The
- avoiding close contact with anyone who is ill
- regularly washing the hands with soap or an alcohol-based hand wash
- avoiding touching the mouth, nose, or eyes
If an individual with asthma does contract the flu, the
However, not every antiviral flu drug is safe for people with asthma. In particular, people with asthma should not take the drug zanamivir (Relenza). This is because zanamivir may cause wheezing in individuals with asthma.
People with asthma can take the drugs oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and peramivir (Rapivab).
Flu can worsen asthma symptoms and increase the likelihood of a person having asthma attacks.
Many typical prevention and treatment options for the flu are available to those with asthma. Most flu vaccines are perfectly safe for people with the condition. Doctors recommend that people with asthma receive flu vaccines to prevent complications from both asthma and the flu should a person with asthma contract the illness.
A person should speak with a doctor or pharmacist about receiving a flu vaccine if they have asthma.