With the cold winter months comes everyone’s least favorite time of year – flu season. Flu season is difficult and inconvenient for everyone, but did you know it poses a special risk to those who suffer from asthma?
How Does the Flu Affect Asthma?
While asthma and the flu are two different ailments, they both deal with inflamed airways. Since asthma sufferers already battle sensitive lungs, inflammation caused by the flu can result in serious asthma attacks, prolonged breathing issues, and other illnesses such as pneumonia.
In cases of severe asthma, the flu can even be deadly. Whether you suffer from minor or extreme asthma, it is important to be on guard against the flu at all times – especially during flu season!
How Can You Protect Yourself from the Flu?
As an asthma sufferer, the best defense against influenza is still a yearly flu vaccine. While doctors recommend that everyone able to receive a vaccine does so, it is even more important that asthmatics stay on top of their annual shot. Flu vaccines are performed in several different ways.
With permission from your doctor, you can receive your flu shot through an injection. Injections are safe and typical for flu vaccines, asthmatic or not.
Vaccination through nasal spray is another option but is generally not recommended for asthma sufferers. In some cases, it can cause a wheezing reaction in young children or in those who battle asthma.
Before getting your flu shot, you should consult with your doctor to ensure you do what is best for your particular case of asthma.
Other Ways to Avoid the Flu
While keeping your flu vaccine up-to-date is the primary way of protecting your health, don’t forget to clean and sanitize your home regularly, wash your hands, and be careful where you go. You can also guard against the flu by employing the following tips.
1. Know your symptoms.
Keeping track of your triggers and symptoms can help you know the difference between an asthma attack and flu symptoms. Flu symptoms typically include sinus and throat problems, chills, aches, fever, exhaustion, and stomach issues.
2. Be prepared.
Since the flu can worsen lung inflammation, it is important that you have a plan in place for fast asthma treatment. Speak to your doctor about what medications you should take and when you should take them.
3. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor.
If you think you might have the flu or aren’t sure how to best avoid it, do not hesitate to call your doctor or set up an appointment. Working as a team with your doctor allows you to take preventative measures against health risks and better care for your asthma.
Download Aluna's Asthma Action Plan!
One of the best ways to maintain your asthma and protect against the flu, pneumonia, etc. is to track your symptoms with an asthma action plan. Learn to recognize your triggers and prevent attacks.
Aluna is an innovative, scientifically-accurate, and portable spirometry exam and asthma management platform paired with a mobile game kids love. Developed by four asthmatic UC Berkeley grads with guidance from the world’s leading pediatric pulmonologists, Aluna seeks to shed light on childhood asthma by providing better data for doctors and parents while coaching kids to develop good asthma management habits.