The 2020 flu season is nearly here and with COVID-19 cases on the rise, getting your flu shot this year is more important than ever — especially for those living with chronic diseases like asthma.
Influenza, also known as the seasonal flu, is an unpredictable and highly contagious viral infection of the nose, throat and lungs. These viruses travel through air droplets when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or talks. It can spread when someone inhales the air droplets or touches infected objects, transferring germs.
Why You Should Get The Flu Shot
The most vulnerable members of our society are those most at risk from influenza: children, seniors, and those with chronic conditions. The best way to prevent influenza is by getting a flu shot.
Individuals with asthma are at risk of a number of serious effects from influenza, including:
- Being more likely to develop pneumonia after getting sick with influenza.
- Influenza infection in the lungs can trigger worsening of asthma symptoms and even asthma attacks, which in turn can lead to pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases.
- Among those hospitalized due to influenza, asthma is the most common medical condition for children and a leading condition among adults who are hospitalized.
Given the current situation with COVID-19, it’s vitally important that everyone, especially those with lung conditions, get their flu shot this year. The flu shot not only helps protect you from influenza but also helps prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed during the pandemic.
Dr. Susan Waserman, Chair of the Medical and Scientific Committee of Asthma Canada, especially encourages people with asthma and their families to get a flu shot yearly to help prevent complications with their chronic condition.
“Flu shots are recommended annually to help reduce the frequency of asthma exacerbations, as viral and upper respiratory tract infections can both cause asthma episodes and make people with asthma more sensitive to asthma triggers.”
It’s also important that anyone who is a caregiver or health worker for vulnerable populations should take the flu shot to protect themselves and those they care for.
High Dose Flu Vaccine For Older Adults
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends the high-dose flu shot should be taken by those 65 years of age and older. Older adults are often at risk of experiencing the most severe consequences from influenza. Adults 65 and over account for roughly 70% of hospitalizations and 90% of deaths due to influenza.
While most people can recover from influenza in as few as seven days, it generally takes longer for seniors to recover. They may also be at higher risk of developing more severe complications, including pneumonia or worsening of underlying medical conditions.
The high-dose influenza vaccine has been demonstrated in a large, randomized controlled trial to be more than 24% more effective than a standard-dose vaccine in adults 65 years of age and older against the flu.
Getting vaccinated is your best defense against the flu – for you and those around you.
Schedule Your Flu Shot Today
Find out when flu shots become available, locate where you can receive your influenza immunization in your area, and learn more about recommended vaccines. Visit myflushot.ca
For more information about flu vaccination, and whether four-strain of high-dose vaccine is available in your province, speak to your doctor, pharmacist or local Public Health authority.
You can also speak to a Certified Respiratory Educator through our Asthma & Allergy HelpLine (call 1-866-787-4050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org).