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People with asthma should get a flu vaccine every year since the flu infection can be more serious for asthma patients, even in mild or well-controlled asthma. The reason is because in asthma, the airways in the lungs are swollen and sensitive. The viruses that cause the flu, the influenza viruses, can infect the lungs triggering asthma attacks and worsening asthma symptoms. The infection can also lead to more serious complications such as pneumonia or other acute respiratory diseases. Adults and children diagnosed with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia after getting the flu, than people who do not have asthma.
The flu vaccine is extremely important for people with asthma because of the severe complications that can develop. The flu vaccines are updated appropriately for each season to adapt with the changing influenza viruses. Each season of the flu vaccine is constructed through research to protect against the most commonly predicted flu viruses. Since immunity wanes over a year, an annual vaccination is needed to ensure the best possible protection.
The flu viruses are most common in the fall and winter months. A typical flu season activity in the United States starts around May, increases in October and November, peaks around December to February, and ends in April.
The flu can spread person to person mainly by droplets made when people infected with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people near by and inhaled into the lungs. The flu is less often transmitted to a person by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.
People infected with the flu are most contagious in the first 3 to 4 days after being ill. Healthy adults may infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 days after being sick. Children and adults with a compromised immune system may pass the virus past 7 days. Additionally, some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms yet, and be spreading the virus to others without knowing it.
Getting a flu vaccine when you have asthma makes a huge difference in your health. If you would like to see if you could get a flu vaccine for this flu season, reach out to Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Medical Group. Trust the specialists at Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Medical Group to schedule an appointment by calling 805-658-9500. Don’t wait too long this flu season before getting your annual flu shot!