Flu & People With Asthma
People with asthma are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, even if their asthma is mild or their symptoms are well-controlled by medication. People with asthma can develop swollen and sensitive airways, and flu can cause further inflammation of the airways and lungs. Flu infections can trigger asthma attacks and a worsening of asthma symptoms. Flu also can lead to pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases. In fact, adults and children with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia after getting sick with flu than people who do not have asthma. Asthma is the most common medical condition among children hospitalized with flu and one of the more common medical conditions among adults hospitalized with flu. For information about underlying health conditions in reported flu hospitalizations, see the FluView Interactive application.
Is The Nasal Spray As Effective As The Flu Shot
In the past, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against getting the nasal spray vaccine.
The reason for this was because studies in children found that it was less effective than the flu shot for protecting against the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza strains.
However, there have been recent advances in the production of the nasal spray vaccine.
Since the 2018 to 2019 flu season, the
- people with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or cancer
- those with weakened immune systems
- individuals living in a nursing home or long-term care facility
Getting your flu shot is also particularly important in light of COVID-19. Both the flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms and will circulate within communities this winter.
While the flu vaccine wont protect you from COVID-19, it can help prevent you from getting the flu.
In addition to keeping you out of the doctors office, this can also conserve medical resources for those that have COVID-19 or other health conditions.
Whats The Difference Between Pcv13 And Ppsv23
|helps protect you against 13 different strains of pneumococcal bacteria||helps protect you against 23 different strains of pneumococcal bacteria|
|usually given four separate times to children under two||generally given once to anyone over 64|
|generally given only once to adults older than 64 or adults older than 19 if they have an immune condition||given to anyone over 19 who regularly smokes nicotine products like cigarettes or cigars|
- Both vaccines help prevent pneumococcal complications like bacteremia and meningitis.
- Youll need more than one pneumonia shot during your lifetime. A 2016 study found that, if youre over 64, receiving both the PCV13 shot and the PPSV23 shot provide the best protection against all the strains of bacteria that cause pneumonia.
- Dont get the shots too close together. Youll need to wait about a year in between each shot.
- Check with your doctor to make sure youre not allergic to any of the ingredients used to make these vaccines before getting either shot.
- a vaccine made with diphtheria toxoid
- another version of the shot called PCV7
- any previous injections of a pneumonia shot
- are allergic to any ingredients in the shot
- have had severe allergies to a PPSV23 shot in the past
- are very sick
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When To Get The Vaccine
Thereâs no such thing as pneumonia season, like flu season. If you and your doctor decide that you need to have a pneumonia vaccine, you can get it done at any time of the year. If itâs flu season, you can even get a pneumonia vaccine at the same time that you get a flu vaccine, as long as you receive each shot in a different arm.
Its Just The Flu After All Nothing Simple Bed Rest And Liquids Cant Cure Right
And pneumonia: It might take some time and antibiotics. But it, too, is treatable, right?
Not quite. Theres more to it than that.
Most people do get better from the flu without problems, but the flu and pneumonia can be deadly. They both can lead to serious health problems, or can make an existing disease worse.
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How Do I Know If I Should Get The Pneumonia Vaccine
If you are wondering whether you should get the pneumonia vaccine, you should come in and discuss it with us. Together we can decide whether you should be vaccinated based on your age and health status.
Vaccinations can prevent serious illness, particularly in people who have certain chronic health conditions. Healthy people should also be vaccinated, both to protect themselves from illness and to prevent the spread of these serious illnesses to others who may be at high risk of becoming seriously ill or dying. If you have questions or concerns, or if you would like to come in for your vaccine, book an appointment today.
Other Ways To Prevent Pneumonia
You can take the following steps to help prevent pneumonia:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers to kill germs.
- Dont smoke. Smoking prevents your lungs from properly filtering out and defending your body against germs. For information about how to quit smoking, visit Smoking and Your Heart and Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. These resources include basic information about how to quit smoking. For free help and support, you may call the National Cancer Institutes Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT .
- Keep your immune system strong. Get plenty of physical activity and follow a healthy eating plan. Read more about heart-healthy living.
- If you have problems swallowing, eat smaller meals of thickened food and sleep with the head of your bed raised up. These steps can help you avoid getting food, drink, or saliva into your lungs.
- If you have a planned surgery, your provider may recommend that you dont eat for 8 hours or drink liquids for 2 hours before your surgery. This can help prevent food or drink from getting into your airway while you are sedated.
- If your immune system is impaired or weakened, your provider may recommend you take antibiotics to prevent bacteria from growing in your lungs.
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Who Should Get The Pneumonia Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the pneumococcal vaccine for those who fall into the following groups:
- All babies and children younger than 2 years old.
- All adults 65 years or older.
- Adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes.
- Children older than 2 and adults younger than 65 who have certain chronic diseases .
- Those who are at increased risk for certain diseases and those who have impaired immune systems.
The recommendations are sometimes confusing, so its a good idea to talk to your doctor about your questions and concerns, Dr. Suri says.
And dont wait to have that conversation. This is an infection you see year-round, she adds.
Who Should Get Pneumococcal Vaccines
CDC recommends pneumococcal vaccination for all children younger than 2 years old and all adults 65 years or older. In certain situations, older children and other adults should also get pneumococcal vaccines. Below is more information about who should and should not get each type of pneumococcal vaccine.
Talk to your or your childs doctor about what is best for your specific situation.
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Who Should Not Get Vaccinated Or Should Wait
- Anyone who has had a lifeâthreatening allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine Prevnar 7 or any vaccine containing diphtheria toxoid: CDC.gov/Vaccines/VPD/Pneumo/Public/Index.html
- Anyone who is moderately or severely ill when the shot is scheduled should wait until feeling better
- For information regarding additional warnings and precautions, please visit: CDC.gov/Vaccines/VPD/Pneumo/HCP/Recommendations.html#Contraindications-Precautions
When Should I Get A Flu Shot
We recommend that you come in for a flu vaccine as soon as the vaccine becomes available to us in the clinic. Flu season can start as early as October, and the sooner you get your shot, the sooner you will be protected from becoming ill. It takes about 2 weeks after you get the vaccine for your body to produce the necessary antibodies and for you to be fully protected.
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Is The Flu Shot Safe
The flu vaccine is very safe- we would not recommend it to our patients if it werent! Common side effects include mild soreness or swelling at the injection site, muscle aches and possibly a low-grade fever for a couple of days. The benefits of the vaccine far outweigh any of these mild side effects. If you have questions about the flu shot, its safety or whether you should get the flu shot, we are happy to discuss this with you. Together we can decide whether you should get the flu vaccine.
Pneumococcal Diseases & Pneumonia Shots
There is a category of diseases called pneumococcal disease, of which pneumonia is one of the most dangerousthe other most dangerous being meningitis. People with diabetes are about three times more likely to die with flu and pneumococcal diseases, yet most dont get a simple, safe pneumonia shot.
Symptoms of pneumonia include:
Cough that can produce mucus that is gray, yellow, or streaked with blood Chest pain
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Know The Facts About The Pneumonia Vaccine
Just as with a flu shot, and now the COVID-19 vaccines, some people believe that getting a pneumococcal vaccine will cause them to come down with the disease or experience long-term side effects.
This is absolutely not true, Dr. Suri says.
Not only will the pneumococcal vaccine help reduce the risk of contracting certain types of bacterial pneumonia, it also guards against serious consequences resulting from the flu and severe infections, such as .
For young children, older adults, smokers and those with other risk factors, the vaccine is a healthy choice to make.
I cant see any reason to avoid this vaccine and every reason to get it, she says.
Influenza And Pneumonia Are Serious Illnesses
Illnesses such as the flu and pneumonia result in lost productivity, hospitalization and even death in some cases. Individuals with chronic disease conditions should be vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia, but healthy people benefit from vaccinations that prevent common illnesses as well. When healthy individuals are vaccinated they reduce the risk of transmitting these dangerous illnesses to individuals with poor immune function or individuals who cannot be vaccinated . At the very least, avoiding the flu means you wont need to take several sick days from work or miss important events because you are too sick to get out of bed!
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Is There Anyone Who Should Not Get The Flu Shot
There are very few people who cant have a flu shot. Infants under the age of 6 months cant be vaccinated . People who are severely allergic to eggs cant get a flu shot because the vaccine is manufactured using eggs. Any individual who has had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine in the past may not be able to have another . Lastly, if you are sick with a fever or infection, you should wait to get your flu shot until you are feeling well.
Other Preventive Actions For People With Asthma
In addition to getting a flu vaccine, people with asthma should take the same everyday preventive actions CDC recommends for everyone, including avoiding people who are sick, covering coughs, and washing hands often.
Specific Health Actions for People with Asthma
- Take asthma medication exactly as your doctor or other medical professional tells you to do. Know how to use your asthma inhaler if your doctor of other medical professional tells you to use one.
- Plan ahead to maintain sufficient supplies of your regular medications for chronic medical conditions .
- Know and avoid the asthma triggers that can cause you to have an asthma attack.
- Follow an updated, written Asthma Action Plan developed with your health care provider.
- Follow this Asthma Action Plan for daily treatment to control asthma long-term and to handle worsening asthma, or attacks.
- If your child has asthma, make sure that their up-to-date written Asthma Action Plan is on file at school and/or at the daycare center. Be sure that the plan and medication are easy to get to when needed.
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Is It Flu Or Pneumonia
The symptoms of pneumonia are similar to the flu. But with pneumonia, your cough is usually worse and you may have trouble breathing. For example, you may get winded going up just a few stairs, when you normally walk up two flights without a problem, says Dr. Thorner.
However, the symptoms can be subtler in the very young and the elderlythe two groups most vulnerable to pneumonia. Babies and young children with the infection may be restless, fussy, and breathe too fast. Older people with pneumonia sometimes dont have a fever or a cough, but they may be confused or complain of pain when taking a deep breath.
What You Should Know About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs that typically stems from several kinds of germs, most often bacteria and viruses.
Symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly. They include:
- Chest pain.
- Loss of appetite.
Early detection is often challenging because many people with these symptoms assume they have a cold or the flu.
Its important to also note that the vaccine helps protect against some but not all bacterial pneumonia.
There are dozens of different types of bacterial pneumonia, says Dr. Suri. The vaccine will certainly reduce your risk of the most common bacterial pneumonia.
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Are There Any Other Options For The Flu Vaccine Besides Getting A Shot
In addition to the flu shot, a nasal spray vaccine is also available. You may see this vaccine referred to as FluMist or the live attenuated influenza vaccine .
This vaccine is sprayed into your nose. Unlike the flu shot, it contains active influenza viruses. However, these vaccine viruses have been weakened so they wont cause an infection.
Like the flu shot, the nasal spray has some potential side effects. These can be different in adults and children and can include:
The nasal spray vaccine is approved for individuals ages 2 to 49. Its not recommended for certain groups, such as pregnant people and those with a weakened immune system.
If youre interested in receiving the nasal spray vaccine, talk with your doctor about whether its a safe option for you.
How Does Influenza Disease Spread
- Flu is spread by:–An infected person’s droplets from cough, sneeze or talk enter the mouth, eye or nose–Touching a surface or object with flu virus on it and then touching mouth, eyes or nose.
- An infected person can infect others 1 day before symptoms start and up to 5 to 7 days after symptoms start.
- Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.
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For Protection Against Pneumonia More Than One Vaccine Can Help
- By , Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
If you havent gotten your flu shot yet this year, dont wait much longerinfluenza season is just around the corner. Yearly flu shots are recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older. If you need some added incentive, consider this: The influenza virus can cause not only the typical flu symptoms , but it can cause viral pneumonia in some people and nudge others to develop bacterial pneumonia. And despite many advances in understanding the causes and treatment of this serious lung infection, its still a major cause of death in the United States, according to an article in todays New England Journal of Medicine.
Each year, about a million people in the U. S. are hospitalized with pneumonia and 50,000 die from it.
Some people think that pneumonia is caused only by bacteria. But in fact, you can get pneumonia from a whole array of different viruses, bacteria, and even fungi, says study co-author Dr. Anna Thorner, an infectious disease specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Who Should Be Vaccinated Against Influenza Because They Are At Increased Risk
- Children 6 months of age through 5 years. Adults 65 years of age or older.
- Pregnant women.
- Residents of nursing home and other long-term facilities.
- People who have medical conditions including the following:–Asthma.–Blood disorders .–Weakened immune systems due to disease or medication .–People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy.–People with extreme obesity.
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Side Effects Of The Pneumococcal Vaccine In Adults And Older Children
Mild side effects of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine , the version of the pneumococcal vaccine given to adults and children over the age of 2, include:
- mild soreness or hardness at the site of the injection lasting 1 to 3 days
- a slightly raised temperature
More serious side effects of the PPV vaccine, such as allergic reactions, are rare.
What Are The Side Effects Of The Pneumonia Vaccine
Most people don’t usually have serious side effects from either vaccine, but it’s possible to have some mild symptoms.
The most common side effects with PCV13 include:
- Redness where the shot was given.
- Swelling where the shot was given.
- Pain or tenderness where the shot was given.
The most common side effects with PPSV23 include:
- Redness where the shot was given.
- Pain where the shot was given.
- Muscle aches.
If you do happen to have side effects, CDC says they’ll usually go away within two days.
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