Asthma and Flu
Asthma and Flu – one may think of them-self as being like everyone else when they get sick, but you as someone with asthma need to take the flu even more seriously. The flu poses some additional concerns for you as compared to those with healthy lungs and without asthma.
The flu virus causes swelling and inflammation in the lungs that may lead to worsening of your asthma symptoms such as:-
- chest tightness
- shortness of breath
- chronic cough
The flu can also lead to pneumonia (lung inflammation caused by bacterial or viral infection, in which the air sacs fill with pus and may become solid) and other acute respiratory problems, and respiratory infections can be much more serious when paired with asthma than without.
In fact, adults and children with asthma are more likely to be hospitalized with acute respiratory illnesses than patients without asthma during flu outbreaks.
Closely following your asthma action plan is a vital key factor, as is knowing the additional steps that are essential to take when the flu strikes.
Medication For Flu and Asthma
Physicians treat flu with a class of drugs known as antivirals(any drug that destroys viruses). These drugs are important in decreasing your risk of your asthma worsening if you get the flu, and may prevent more severe complications like pneumonia. Antivirals are only available via prescription from your doctor or healthcare providers.
Depending on the flu strains in your community, your doctor may recommend one or a combination of the following currently available antiviral medications:-
- Tamiflu (oseltamivir)
- Relenza (zanamivir)
- Flumadine (rimantidine)
Generally, all asthmatics who are suspected of having flu or who have a positive diagnostic test for the flu should consider antiviral treatment. Unlike patients without asthma, you may benefit from antiviral treatment even if diagnosed more than forty eight hours after symptoms develop. See your doctor as soon as you suspect you got flu.
Additionally,if you have asthma and were not vaccinated, your doctor may also recommend that you get vaccinated at the time you are diagnosed with flu.
If you have symptoms that could be compatible with the flu, you should see a doctor if you have a chronic condition such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes, or if your symptoms include:-
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain or pressure
- Feeling faint or fainting
- Feeling confused or disoriented
- Continual vomiting
- Severe facial or forehead pain
- Fever of 102 F or more for longer than three days
- Any flu symptoms lasting more than 10 days or getting worse
- Cough, sore throat or hoarseness lingering more than 10 days
Failure to treat serious, prolonged symptoms can lead to complications such as bacterial pneumonia, ear or sinus infections or dehydration. Failing to get treatment can also cause conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes to get worse.