You should make every effort to maintain your health if you have asthma. Any respiratory infection, including the flu, can irritate and constrict your airways if you have asthma.
Every year, between 5% and 20% of Americans contract the flu. 200,000 or more people are in hospitals, according to the CDC. Additionally, between 3,000 and 49,000 people have lost their lives to the flu annually since the 1970s. This is mostly because having the flu can also lead to other diseases and consequences, like pneumonia.
Individuals with lung conditions, such as asthma, are more vulnerable to respiratory issues brought on by the flu. The best defense against the flu and the respiratory issues that follow, such as exacerbation of asthma symptoms, is vaccination against the flu.
What Do Asthma and the Flu Symptoms Involve?
If you have any of the following symptoms of an asthma attack or the flu, call your doctor:
- an increase in wheeze or dyspnea
- spitting up more mucous than usual
- Green or yellow-colored mucous
- chills or a fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
- severe exhaustion or widespread pains in the muscles
- Throat soreness, scratchiness, or difficulty swallowing
- Headache, nasal congestion, soreness along your top cheekbones, or sinus discharge
If you are experiencing difficulty breathing, call 911.
If you think you might have the flu, give your doctor a call right away to find out how to keep your asthma symptoms from getting worse. In order to modify your asthma action plan and assist lessen your flu symptoms, your doctor can recommend an antiviral medication.
To effectively self-manage your asthma and maintain control over your symptoms, make sure you adhere to the guidelines in your written asthma action plan. Furthermore, keep monitoring your peak flow rate to ensure that your breathing remains within the acceptable range.
How Can You Avoid Asthma-Triggering Infections?
You can take the following actions to lessen the likelihood of infections that aggravate asthma symptoms:
- Hands up. Maintaining proper hygiene might reduce your risk of contracting viral illnesses like the flu. To remove germs that cling to your hands, remember to wash your hands regularly throughout the day.
- Obtain a flu vaccination. See your physician about being vaccinated against the flu each year. Talk about getting vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia as well. Bacterial pneumonia is frequently caused by pneumococcus, and it can be very dangerous for those who also have asthma.
- Avoid getting sinusitis. To help prevent asthma episodes, be aware of the signs of a sinus infection and notify your doctor right away.
- Never share supplies or medication for asthma. Never lend out your asthma medication or supplies, such as your mouthpiece, nebulizer tube, and asthma inhaler, to anyone else.
Which Flu Vaccine Types Are Available?
There are two different kinds of flu vaccines: nasal spray and injection.
Flu shots cannot spread the illness because they don’t include a live virus. FluMist, a nasal flu vaccination, does not actually induce the flu; instead, it includes weakened flu viruses. Instead of FluMist, those with asthma should receive the flu shot vaccination.
Additional choices consist of:
- Smaller needles are used for intradermal injections, and they only penetrate the skin’s outermost layer rather than the muscle. Ages 18 to 64 can make use of them.
- For people with severe egg allergies between the ages of 18 and 49, immunizations devoid of eggs are now accessible.
- High-dose vaccinations may provide greater protection against the flu for persons 65 years of age and above.
Influenza in asthmatics:
The pulmonary system is the most exposed organ system in the body to the outside world because of its huge surface area, which takes in 10,000 L of air every day, and contains a variety of particles that are both physiologically active and inactive. Due to the anatomical and immunological similarities between the upper and lower respiratory tracts, certain pathogenic pathogens and released proteins from the upper respiratory tract can spread to the lower respiratory tract. The “one-airway” approach is based on the idea that the respiratory system must be taken into account as a whole while researching disease causation and therapies. Asthma is a severe chronic disease of the airways that can develop in susceptible individuals over time as a result of developing reactions to (often) harmless substances. Physical barriers and innate immune defenses serve to protect the lungs from infections and damage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1:11 adults and 1:11 children have asthma. When inhaled substances or respiratory pathogens—including viruses—breach the barrier defenses, sensitized airways respond dynamically.
All ages can be affected by respiratory viruses, although children are particularly susceptible. These viruses include influenza A virus (IAV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and rhinovirus (RV). Simply based on the high incidence of asthma, the risk of an asthmatic becoming infected with a respiratory virus is high, therefore, it is necessary to understand the host–pathogen interactions in an immunological background that is tilted towards type I hypersensitivity. There is evidence, albeit with some limitations, that early-life infections with RSV and RV are associated with the development of asthma. The main focus of this review is, however, on the less well-established connections between IAV and asthma.
Influenza and asthma are prevalent illnesses that afflict millions of people globally. The association between influenza and asthma was unclear, despite the fact that viruses such as RSV and RV are known to cause and worsen asthma attacks. Asthma and influenza were identified as a pair related to poor outcomes during the 2009 pandemic, with the latter being linked to hospitalization as a risk factor. Arthur Varner originally proposed the idea that the host may benefit from hypersensitivity-based immune responses during pathogen interactions. This idea was further supported by the findings of the Swine Flu pandemic, which showed that asthmatics were less likely to experience consequences from severe influenza. Using mouse model systems, mechanisms that could have produced this unanticipated effect were discovered, where it was discovered that the immune profile linked to acute allergy aggravation possessed improved antiviral capabilities. To illustrate the difficulties involved in comprehending health disorders that currently impact the community, we examined the intricacies of these immunologically diverse diseases in a review, both alone and collectively. Investigating how these immune responses affect invasive infections is crucial as new findings highlight distinct endotypes of asthma; these contextual studies will further our objective of enhancing personalized treatment.
How Do Asthma Survivors Respond to Flu Vaccines?
Everyone, including those who have asthma, responds to the flu shot in the same manner. Your body produces antibodies as a result of them. These antibodies offer a defense against influenza infection. Some persons may experience weariness and muscle aches as a result of this antibody reaction.
The flu shot includes many strains of the virus every year. The strains selected are the ones that scientists believe have the most chance of emerging that year. The flu vaccine is around 60% effective in avoiding the virus if the appropriate decision is made. However, older individuals and those with compromised immune systems are less likely to benefit from the vaccination.
Who Is Eligible for the Flu Shot?
Everybody six months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu every year, according to the CDC. The flu shot is very crucial for a number of populations. These individuals are either more likely to experience flu-related complications themselves or are in close proximity to others who are. Among them are:
- expectant mothers
- Youngsters under the age of five, particularly those under two
- adults fifty years of age and up
- adults and kids suffering from long-term illnesses, such as asthma and other immune-suppressive disorders.
- carers for those who are susceptible to difficulties from the flu, such as healthcare professionals and those who look after very young children.
- Senior citizens residing in nursing homes and other extended-care establishments.
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