Why Asthmatics Should NOT Underestimate Flu?


Anjali is a 35-year-old homemaker who, despite being an asthmatic for many years, is leading a healthy lifestyle. She not only makes sure to follow a strict diet plan but also exercises on a regular basis. To prevent any untoward incidents, she puts her best foot forward 24X7 and takes extra precautions to keep her asthma under control all round the year. She keeps her home clean and avoids any known triggers that could lead to an asthma attack. However, Anjali was totally unaware that unlike her family and friends, she was at a high risk of health complications due to the flu; and the risk was high irrespective of the asthma control. One day, during a general discussion with the doctor, she got to know that flu and asthma are a deadly combination.

Just like Anjali, most people with asthma do not know how flu can put you at risk of numerous health complications, especially respiratory illnesses. It can not only impact the functioning of your respiratory system but also increase the chances of a severe (and in rare cases permanent) damage to the lungs[1]. 

How Flu Affects People With Asthma? 

Influenza or flu is a viral infection which can cause severe health complications in people with comorbid conditions such as heart disease and pulmonary problems[2]. Here are a few ways flu can affect asthmatics. 

#1. Although people with asthma are not at a higher risk to suffer from flu than anyone else, the severity of the infection is higher in asthmatics as compared to others. This is because influenza infection not only causes inflammation of the respiratory tract and the lungs but can also trigger an asthma attack and worsen the symptoms. In some cases, it can even lead to severe asthma attacks and hospitalization[2]. 

#2. Adults and older people with asthma are more prone to suffer from pneumonia after getting infected with influenza[1]. This could be due to the fact that flu and asthma cause bronchoconstriction as well as excess mucus production which can affect the lungs. Moreover, it can also knock down the immune system, thus increasing the risk of hospitalization which is mostly seen in older people[2]. 

#3. Asthmatics are at high risk of suffering from flu complications such as ear infections, sinus infections and respiratory infections. This is attributed to chronic airway inflammation seen in asthmatics. Also, people with asthma have impaired immune response which predisposes an individual to serious influenza health complications and bacterial infections[2]. 

Flu In Asthmatics: How To Deal With It? 

The old adage “prevention is better than cure” perfectly fits the bill when it comes to fighting any health problem. Influenza is one of the many common diseases which can be prevented with vaccination[2]. It is wise to get an annual flu shot before the season starts to prevent flu and thus, lower the severity of the condition in asthmatics[1]. In addition to this, avoid triggers and follow good hygiene to stay healthy this flu season. 

Ask your doctor to know more about influenza vaccination today! 


1. Adults With Asthma Should Receive Flu Vaccination. Asthma. The Centers For Disease Prevention And Control (CDC). Available From: https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/flushot.htm 

2. Asthma. The Secondary Benefits of Influenza Vaccination. Literature Review. International Federation On Ageing. Available from: https://www.ifa-fiv.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/IFA-Secondary-Benefits-Report_Final.pdf 


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent and unbiased views solely of the publisher. This is a part of the public awareness initiative on influenza supported by Sanofi Pasteur India. Sanofi Pasteur bears no responsibility for the content of this article. One should consult their healthcare provider for any health-related information. 

Updated Date: Sep 23, 2019 13:01:25 IST 

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