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Flu and Asthma Don't Mix

The 2017/2018 flu season was a record year with 172 children dying of the flu, 80% of whom did not receive the flu vaccine.* This statistic alone demonstrates how serious the flu can be for children, but what happens when a child with asthma is infected? Just a common cold can worsen symptoms of asthma, so the flu has the potential to develop into a very dangerous situation. Let’s take a look at some recent statistics.

  • 30% of children admitted to the hospital with the flu also have asthma.
  • Children with both the flu and asthma were twice as likely to be hospitalized compared to children without asthma.
  • A child suffering from asthma and the flu is at greater risk of developing complications like bacterial pneumonia, ear infections and sinus problems.

As we approach the upcoming flu season, there are a few things you can do to help protect your child.

  • Get the flu vaccine. The flu is one of the few vaccine-preventable respiratory viruses.
  • Have your child get a check-up in the fall to assess their condition before flu season starts.
  • Encourage hand-washing. This is one of the most basic preventative measures for avoiding germs.
  • Children who are prescribed a daily asthma controller should be monitored to make sure they’re taking their medication, even when they’re feeling well.
  • Work with your child’s doctor to develop a written plan. This will help ensure that you’re well prepared for different situations that could affect your child’s health.
  • Make sure that you’re informed. You should be able to recognize the symptoms of asthma, know which medications to use when symptoms start, and know when to call a doctor if the medication isn’t working.

As always, Dr. Swender is here to help with all things related to asthma, allergy and immunology. He will assess your child’s condition and develop a treatment plan in order to make sure you’re both prepared for this year’s flu season.