AANMA encourages everyone with asthma and their family members (over 6 months of age) to get a flu shot. “People with asthma are at high risk of developing complications from the flu, so it’s important to do everything possible to avoid getting sick,” explains Carol Jones, RN, AE-C. “That means getting everyone in the household (except babies under 6 months of age) vaccinated against flu every year. It takes up to 2 weeks for the vaccination to take full effect, so to protect your holidays, get your vaccinations today.”
”The flu shot is Step 1 in flu prevention,” agrees David Callahan, MD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “This year’s flu vaccine will protect against three different flu viruses: the 2009 H1N1 virus and two others expected to circulate. Everyone with asthma who is 6 months and older should get a flu vaccination, whether or not they got the H1N1 vaccine last year.”
CDC also says some children younger than 9 may need two doses of flu vaccine to be protected; and no one with asthma should receive the nasal spray vaccine (FluMist®).
Other tips for people with asthma:
- Ask your healthcare provider to update your written, customized Asthma Action Plan with specific flu and cold precautions. (Don’t have one? e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a sample.)
- Treat cold or flu symptoms early and aggressively. Activate your Asthma Action Plan at the first sign of symptoms to reduce airway inflammation and keep breathing tubes clear.
- Make sure all of your medications are up-to-date, including inhalers and nebulizer solutions.
- Check your nebulizer equipment: Is it clean? Do you need new tubing or medicine cups? Does your child need a new, larger mask? Replace them now if necessary.