Flu season is upon us, and that means it’s time to start thinking about your seasonal flu shot. It is particularly important for asthmatics to take precautions against the flu, as additional lung irritation can trigger a flare-up in your chronic lung condition. So, how exactly do flu vaccines work in people with asthma?
Do You Need a Flu Vaccine?
First things first: who needs a flu vaccine? Anyone whose health allows them to should receive a flu vaccine. Not only does it protect you, it helps protect others who may not be able to get the vaccine for health reasons. Particularly this year when COVID-19 is on everyone’s minds, you don’t want to have to worry about the flu as well.
Now, many people mistakenly assume that those with underlying health conditions (e.g. asthma) cannot receive a flu vaccine. Actually, it is extremely important for asthmatics (as well as those with other chronic lung diseases) to receive their flu vaccine. The flu is dangerous for those who are prone to respiratory flare-ups, meaning you should do everything possible to avoid getting it.
Flu Vaccination Methods
All that said, there is a recommended vaccination method for asthmatics. The flu vaccine is primarily administered in one of two ways: injection or nasal. Let’s take a look at both methods.
Injection Flu Vaccine
An injection is the more common method of receiving the flu vaccine. Make sure to check with your doctor before receiving it, but generally speaking, the injection is perfectly safe for asthmatics. Remember, the flu causes inflammation in your airways and can cause long-term problems, so it is important to communicate with your doctor regarding a safe way to receive the vaccine.
Nasal Flu Vaccine
Another way to get the flu vaccine is through a special nasal spray. However, this method often acts as a lung irritant in those with chronic lung conditions. If your doctor recommends an injection over a nasal vaccine, make sure you listen. After all, a vaccine that encourages your lungs to act up is pretty counterproductive.
Other Ways to Avoid Getting (or Spreading) the Flu
The good news is that health and caution are on everyone’s minds this year, perhaps more than any other. While there is no “sure-fire method” to avoiding the flu, the basic precautions you take to avoid getting COVID-19 applies to most other illnesses as well. Doctors recommend that you avoid picking up or spreading germs by taking the following preventive measures.
- Wash your hands.
- Wear a mask.
- Avoid contact with affected individuals.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- Load up on the proper nutrients and vitamins.
What Happens if You Get Sick?
If you have asthma, make sure you develop an asthma attack action plan with the help of your doctor. This helps you know how to respond in the event of the flu or another respiratory illness. We recommend that you notify your doctor if you get sick or if you notice an increase in respiratory symptoms or triggers. Knowing your asthma is key to controlling your asthma, so make sure you stay on top of your lung tests and data monitoring!