Got Asthma? Get a Flu Shot!

30 09 2010

(The following is courtesy of CDC)

If you have asthma, you’re probably familiar with the wheezing, breathlessness and coughing that comes with it. But did you know that the flu can make your asthma worse, and that having asthma puts you at higher risk for serious flu complications? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even if your asthma is controlled by medicine, getting the flu can still make your asthma worse. It can even land you in the hospital. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, about one-third of all people in the hospital from 2009 H1N1 had asthma.

Experts believe that the 2009 H1N1 virus will still be around during the 2010-2011 flu season. This season’s vaccine will protect against the 2009 H1N1 virus. The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will also protect against two other flu viruses that research shows may cause a lot illness during the upcoming season. CDC recommends a flu vaccine as the first and best defense against seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu. In fact, CDC now encourages everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine. “We hope the new recommendation this season will protect more people from the flu,” says Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

But there is a special message for people who have asthma, “People with asthma and other underlying conditions are at special risk and it’s important that they be protected from the flu, including 2009 H1N1, this season. Get a flu shot,” Schuchat urges.

While symptoms and severity can vary, the flu is typically worse than the common cold, and can cause symptoms including high fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches. Vomiting and diarrhea can also occur, although usually more often in children. Call your doctor right away if you get flu symptoms.

Asthma puts adults and children at more of a risk for complications from the flu. The flu vaccine is safe and cannot give you the flu. The flu shot rather than the nasal spray is suggested for people with asthma or other medical conditions.

Because different flu viruses go around each year, a new flu vaccine is made each year to fight seasonal flu, which is why it is important to get a seasonal flu vaccine every year. Even if you got a vaccine last season, you should still get a flu shot this season, because the protection from last year’s vaccine may have gone away, plus this season’s vaccine will protect against new strains of flu viruses.

Vaccine is available through your doctor, pharmacist, local health clinic, and flu clinics at local retail outlets. For more information, visit www.flu.gov, www.cdc.gov/flu, or contact CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).


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2 responses

29 10 2010
Juanita

Luckily for us, last year’s H1N1 crisis missed our family for the most part, but we are still determined to get all of us the flu vaccines available for this year. At least half of our extended family members fall into the at-risk groups, and it just makes sense to be as prepared as possible for this season.

As early as mid-September we started seeing signs at pharmacies, grocery stores, and doctors offices offering this year’s version, and since school vaccinations were underway, we just went ahead and made a second appointment for the flu shots. The next rounds are due next week, and already several of our child’s classmates have gotten colds. Looks like everything is starting early this year, and I am glad that we are prepared for it. Flu Vaccines

20 12 2010
Richard Friedel

A relevant but strangely ignored or not generally known fact about asthma and breathing troubles is that the change between weak (asthmatic) and strong (healthy) breathing is dependent on abdominal muscle tension. Slackening the muscles here causes abysmally weak and asthmatic breathing. Instead of describing an asthma attack as being like breathing through a straw, attempting to breathe vigorously with relaxed abdominal muscles provides a more genuine illustrative example. Training the muscles, for example by “abdominal hollowing” (see Web articles) produces an antiasthmatic effect. Abdominal muscle tension plays a prominent part in Asian martial arts.

I tend to breathe asthmatically after an evening meal or in pollen-laden air.
So it is fair to assume that there is a natural breathing spectrum with an asthmatic tendency at one end and Ku Fu or Karate breathing at the other end. For a few words on the Japanese version of Asian breathing see http://www.lrz.de/~s3e0101/webserver/webdata/OBT.pdf
Breathing powerfully into my lower abdomen with tensed muscles provides an effective cure for me. But then I’ve always been sceptical about medical wisdom on asthma: such a paradoxical and doctor-baffling increase in the last 40 years with modern, merely symptomatic inhalers. Respectfully, Richard Friedel

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