Vaccination is the administration of material (a vaccine) capable to stimulate an immune response against a specific antigen thereby making the individual immune to it and protected from the disease. Therefore, vaccines can prevent morbidity and mortality from an infection. Asthma is among the most common respiratory conditions in children and adults affected by influenza (flu) infection. Therefore, asthma patients are advised to get flu vaccine because it provides the best protection against the flu infection.
Why does asthma patient at increased risk for getting the flu-related complications?
Asthma patient is not at an increased risk of getting flu infection. Rather, it puts the asthma patient at an increased risk of complications from the flu infection. Asthma causes the patient’s airways to swell and increases their sensitivity. The flu infection can further increase the inflammation of the airways and lungs. This can lead to lung infection and other severe acute respiratory diseases.
How can asthma patients protect themselves from getting flu infection?
The most effective way to prevent flu infection is to get a flu vaccine. Patients with moderate to severe asthma should be advised to receive a flu vaccination every year. In addition, they should practice healthy lifestyle to keep themselves healthy and to avoid crowded places.
How long is the protection provided by flu vaccination?
The flu vaccination will protect the asthma patient from getting the flu infection for one flu season. Therefore, the flu vaccine has to be given yearly.
How do flu vaccines work?
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the patient’s body. These antibodies provide protection against infection caused by flu viruses. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for adequate antibodies to develop in the body and to provide protection against flu virus infection.
Is the flu vaccine safe and what are the common side effects?
Flu vaccines have a very good safety track record. It is also safe in pregnancy and it is recommended for pregnant women with asthma during the second or third trimester.
Mild side-effects usually begin soon after the patient gets the vaccine and last one to two days. Possible common but mild side-effects of the flu vaccination include soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site, headaches and fever.
Serious side-effects usually begin within a few minutes to a few hours after receiving the vaccine. Possible serious side-effects of vaccination include difficulty in breathing, hoarseness of voice and swelling around the eyes or lips. The patient should seek medical attention immediately if they experienced any of these reactions after the flu vaccination.
Is there anyone who should not get the flu vaccine?
Asthma patient with the following conditions should not get the flu vaccination i.e.
- A history of severe reaction to a previous flu vaccination
- A moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (the patient should wait until they are better before getting the vaccine)