What Should I Know About My Child With Asthma In Facing Covid
While there is still so much we dont know about COVID-19, it is possible that people with asthma may be at a higher risk of complications.
Thats why this year, more than ever, the best thing you can do to help protect you and your family is to get a flu shot. Since some flu symptoms are similar to symptoms of COVID-19, preventing a flu infection by getting your annual flu shot could reduce confusion or concerns about possible COVID-19 infection in your family. Getting a flu shot doesnt stop COVID-19, but by reducing the chances of getting the flu, you can keep your family safer at a time of rising respiratory illnesses.
Flu & People With Asthma
Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices United States, 2022-2023 Influenza Season has been published. Related updates to this page are forthcoming. CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older in the United States should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exception. More information about the 2022-2023 flu season is also available.
People with asthma are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, even if their asthma is mild or their symptoms are well-controlled by medication. People with asthma can develop swollen and sensitive airways, and flu can cause further inflammation of the airways and lungs. Flu infections can trigger asthma attacks and a worsening of asthma symptoms. Flu also can lead to pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases. In fact, adults and children with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia after getting sick with flu than people who do not have asthma. Asthma is the most common medical condition among children hospitalized with flu and one of the more common medical conditions among adults hospitalized with flu. For information about underlying health conditions in reported flu hospitalizations, see the FluView Interactive application.
How Does The Flu Spread
Unlike asthma, the flu is contagious. The flu spreads from coughing and sneezing. It usually spreads from person to person. You can also get the flu by touching something with the flu virus on it, then touching your mouth or nose. You can spread the flu before you know you are sick and when you are sick.
The flu spreads from fall through spring each year.
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On The Eve Of Flu Season
Flu season strikes during the cold months.
While the dates can fluctuate, doctors tend to see an uptick in flu cases starting in November, while things peak in January and February.
Severity of the dominant flu strain can also vary, but the United States in particular is coming off a severe season.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the 2017 to 2018 flu season was the first to be classified as high severity across every age group.
The number of people who get vaccinated varies from year to year. But with the number of vaccinated adults in the United States in the 38 to 44 percent range over the past few flu seasons, its hardly enough to promote effective herd immunity.
The flu shot is free in the United Kingdom, where the asthma survey originated.
In the United States, the immunization may come with a cost depending on healthcare coverage. For the uninsured, the cost of an annual vaccine ranges from $5 to $30.
For those who are wary of getting the flu shot, the CDC has a section on their website devoted to debunking misconceptions about the vaccine.
Theres no doubt that the winter months are a fraught time when it comes to getting sick.
Overall Quality Of Evidence
The body of evidence regarding influenza VE and safety regarding primary and secondary outcomes was rated, using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach, as being of very low quality owing to inconsistency, indirectness, and imprecision across studies. In addition, the strength of evidence for the protective effects of vaccination against pulmonary function and school or work absenteeism was rated as very low because the evidence was based on single studies. Thus, the consistency, directness, and precision of the pooled overall estimation could not be assessed. Similarly, the evidence of safety of influenza vaccination against influenza infection and respiratory tract illness was assigned as very low because it was provided by single studies .
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Why Is It Important For People With Asthma To Get A Flu Shot Every Year
All people with asthma are at risk for flu complications even if their asthma is well controlled. Flu can result in inflamed airways and lungs and trigger an asthma attack. People with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia if they are sick with flu than people who do not have asthma.
24+ million people in the United States have asthma, and 10 people die from the disease daily. Protection against the flu is vital for that reason.
Who Is Eligible For The Free Flu Vaccine This Year
This year, more people are being offered the free flu vaccine on the NHS. Find out who is eligible to get the free flu vaccine in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales:
If you aren’t eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can pay to get one from a pharmacy. You may want to encourage family and friends to have one, so they can protect themselves and others.
Should I get my flu vaccine if I feel ill?
You should not attend your appointment to get your flu vaccine if you have any symptoms of COVID-19. These are:
- a temperature
- a new continuous cough
- lost your sense of smell or taste.
If you feel unwell, try to rebook your appointment for a time when you think you will feel better. This is particularly important if you have a temperature, as this will make the flu jab less effective.
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Here Are A Few Other Things You Can Do To Help Minimise Your Chances Of Being Infected With The Flu Virus Or If You Do Catch The Virus Stop It Spreading To Others Around You:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, throw away the tissue and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.
- Try to avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose, especially after coming in to contact with an ill person.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use hand sanitiser.
- Regularly clean hard surfaces such as your phone, keyboard and door handles.
Safety Of Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine In Children With Asthma
CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES: The authors report no financial conflicts of interest relevant to this work. Dr. Creech reports receipt of a research grant from Merck Vaccines, personal fees for consultation for Astellas, Horizon Pharma, Altimmune, Janssen, Vir, and Premier Healthcare , and royalties from UpToDate . Dr. Walter reports serving as principal investigator for Pfizer-funded studies of COVID-19 vaccines, co-investigator for a vaccine study funded by Moderna, and an advisory board member for Vaxcyte .
Contributed equally as co-first authors
Andrew G. Sokolow, Amy P. Stallings, Carolyn Kercsmar, Theresa Harrington, Natalia Jimenez-Truque, Yuwei Zhu, Katherine Sokolow, M. Anthony Moody, Elizabeth P. Schlaudecker, Emmanuel B. Walter, Mary Allen Staat, Karen R. Broder, C. Buddy Creech Safety of Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine in Children With Asthma. Pediatrics April 2022 149 : e2021055432. 10.1542/peds.2021-055432
Asthma is considered a precaution for use of quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine in persons aged 5 years because of concerns for wheezing events. We evaluated the safety of LAIV4 in children with asthma, comparing the proportion of children with asthma exacerbations after LAIV4 or quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine .
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Where To Get The Flu Vaccine
You can have the NHS flu vaccine at:
- your GP surgery
- a pharmacy offering the service
- your midwifery service if you’re pregnant
- a hospital appointment
If you do not have your flu vaccine at your GP surgery, you do not have to tell the surgery. This will be done for you.
It’s important to go to your vaccination appointments unless you have symptoms of COVID-19.
You’ll Just Take The Medicine If You Get The Flu
If you get the flu, it’s important that you seek medical attentionespecially if you have asthma. But, typically, antiviral flu treatments like Tamiflu have to be taken within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms in order to be effective. And antivirals only decrease flu symptoms by about one day and may not prevent more serious complications.
So you might need intensive medical treatment if you get the flu, such as respiratory treatment for your asthma, intravenous , fluids, and moreeven if you take an antiviral.
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Do I Have To Pay For The Vaccine
The vaccine and consultation with a healthcare professional are free to anyone with a Medical Card or GP visit card. Pharmacists and GPs charge a consultation fee for giving the season flu vaccine to anyone outside these groups.
For further information , or if you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine, talk to your G.P. You can also call the Asthma Adviceline on1800 44 54 64 to speak to one our nurses in complete confidence.
For a detailed list of the groups at risk and for more information on the flu vaccine visit www.immunisation.ie
Does Influenza Vaccine Induce Asthma Exacerbation
A few reports, most anecdotal or with a small patient population, raised the concern that influenza vaccination might induce asthma exacerbation.14,15 In 1998, a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of adults with asthma demonstrated a higher rate of asthma exacerbations in the 72 hours after injection of a trivalent split-virus preparation or surface-antigen preparation compared with placebo. However, when participants with upper respiratory tract infections were excluded, there was no significant difference in the number of exacerbations between vaccine and placebo groups.16 A Cochrane report reviewed several studies that aimed to asses this possible harm of vaccination the authors concluded that the pooled results neither demonstrated any significant increase in asthma exacerbations in the 2 weeks following influenza vaccination nor any significant fall in peak expiratory flow rate, increased use of bronchodilators, or increased use of oral corticosteroids during this period.17
The most reassuring evidence comes from a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 1240 adults and 712 children with asthma. This study reported a similar frequency of asthma exacerbations during the 2 weeks after influenza vaccination and after placebo injection. Subgroup analysis based on severity of asthma, age, and other demographic characteristics reached the same results.18
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You’re Scared Of The Side Effects
Side effects are normally minor, and include soreness or redness at the injection site, achiness, or a low-grade fever. People rarely develop a serious allergic reaction to the flu shot.
And even more rarely, about one out of every 1 million people vaccinated may develop Guillain Barre syndrome as a complication.
On the other hand, asthmatics who contract the flu are more likely to get pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, and experience severe breathing problems.
Where Do You Get The Flu Vaccine
The American Lung Association offers an electronic flu vaccine clinic locator. Visit its web site, enter a zip code and a date , and receive information about clinics scheduled in your area. You can also check with your pharmacist. Most retail pharmacies offer flu shots.
If you or your loved one has asthma, talk to your doctor about getting a flu vaccine.
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Asthma And Flu A Risky Combination Get Immunised
Even if your asthma is well managed, you are at higher risk of complications if you catch influenza .
Even if your asthma is well managed, you are at higher risk of complications if you catch influenza .
For example, adults and children with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia after getting sick with the flu than people who do not have asthma.
If you have been diagnosed with asthma and are on a regular preventative therapy, or have another chronic chest or breathing condition, you are eligible for a free flu shot from a doctor or nurse.
Immunisation is also especially important for people 65 years and over, pregnant women and young children who are at a higher risk of complications when they get flu.
Free flu shots are available for adults and children six months and older between April and December 31 each year. However, autumn is the best time to get your annual flu shot so you’re protected before flu season strikes.
To better match circulating viruses, the two funded flu vaccines will contain four inactivated virus strains, specially formulated for the New Zealand 2019 season.
Flu can be anywhere, so you can easily catch it.
Influenza is not the same as a cold. Its a serious disease that can also make other existing conditions, such as asthma, even worse, and it can kill.
Immunisation is the best protection against influenza. Even if you still catch the flu after immunisation, your symptoms are less likely to be severe.
I Have Asthma What Should I Do To Protect Myself Against Flu
It could be that if you catch flu, your asthma symptoms will worsen. However, there are some things you can do to protect yourself.
The first, and most important, is to make sure you are managing your asthma correctly. This involves making sure of the following:
- You are using the right asthma medicines, in the correct dosages.
- You are using your inhaler correctly.
- You have a personalised asthma action plan, detailing the nature of your condition, which helps you to stay on top of your symptoms .
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What Are The Symptoms Of The Flu And Asthma
Call your doctor if you experience flu or asthma attack symptoms, including:
- Increased shortness of breath or wheezing
- Coughing up increased amounts of mucus
- Yellow- or green-colored mucus
- Fever or chills
- Extreme tiredness or generalized muscle aches
- Sore throat, scratchy throat, or pain when swallowing
- Sinus drainage, nasal congestion, headache, or tenderness along your upper cheekbones
Call 911 if you are having trouble breathing.
Resources For Asthma Patients Parents Of Patients And Healthcare Professionals
Influenza, commonly called the flu, is caused by the influenza virus, which infects the respiratory tract . People with asthma are more likely to have serious health problems from getting the flu, yet most people with asthma dont receive a flu shot every year.
This spring, a new influenza virus began causing illness in people and spreading around the world. Originally called swine flu because the virus genes were similar to some influenza viruses that infect pigs, the new virus has been named novel H1N1. Find out more about novel H1N1 and CDCs public health response.
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Who Needs A Flu Shot
The flu vaccine should be given to all people 6 months of age or older, especially those who are at greater risk for flu complications. People who are at high risk for severe flu complications include:
- people who are 65 years or older
- people with chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma or COPD
- pregnant women.
The flu vaccine available at your doctors office, community clinic, pharmacy and some supermarkets is the best insurance against getting sick with the flu and passing it on to others in your family or community.
If you are COVID-19 positive, suspect you may have COVID-19, or you are recovering from a cold, you should delay getting the flu vaccine until you are no longer ill.
The 2021-22 flu vaccine includes updates to influenza A and influenza A , two of the most common strains of flu. Read the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention full update on the 2020-21 flu vaccine.
How Do Colds Flu And Viruses Impact People With Asthma
Colds and flu are viral infections and are the most common trigger for asthma flare-ups. They can be more serious for people with asthma, even if asthma is mild or well controlled.
You cant really avoid them, but you can reduce your risk of catching viral infections:
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow
- Avoid crowded spaces where possible especially where people have colds
- Having the flu vaccination every year.
Good asthma management year-round is important to ensure youre best able to deal with cold and flu viruses. Here are some key asthma management tips that can help.
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Study Population And Data
This study was undertaken in the region of Navarre , Spain, where annual studies of the effectiveness of influenza vaccines have been conducted since 2009.2022 The Navarre Health Service provides health care to residents free at the point of use. The trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine was offered annually free of charge to the target population, which included people older than 6 months with conditions that increased risk for severe illness, including asthma, and all those aged 60 years or older. Each dose of vaccine was recorded at the time of administration.9
We based our influenza surveillance on electronic reporting of cases of medically attended influenza-like illness from all primary health care centres and hospitals in the region. Protocols indicated detection and swabbing of all cases with influenza-like illness in hospitals and by sentinel general practitioners.20 We defined influenza-like illness as the sudden onset of any general flu-like symptom in addition to any respiratory symptom .23 Swabs of patients were tested for influenza virus by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and results were entered in electronic laboratory records.
We obtained influenza vaccination status for each patient in the current and 5 previous seasons from the electronic regional vaccination register.9 We used a unique identification number to link patient information.