Skip to content

Asthma Health Center

Select An Article

Asthma and Flu

Font Size

If you have asthma, you should do all you can to stay healthy. With asthma, any respiratory infection, including the flu, can affect your lungs, causing inflammation and airway narrowing.

About 5% to 20% of Americans get the flu each year. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized, according to the CDC. And since the 1970s, between 3,000 and 49,000 people have died from the flu each year. This is largely due to other infections and complications that can occur when you have the flu, particularly pneumonia.

Recommended Related to Cold & Flu

Is Your Kid Sick or Just Faking It?

Your school-aged child wakes up sniffling, coughing, and moaning that he just doesn't feel well enough to go to school. Could it be a cold? The flu? Or, even the dreaded swine flu? As a parent, how are you supposed to respond? Sometimes, it's clear that your child has cold symptoms or flu symptoms and needs to be taken to the doctor. Other times, illness in kids is not so easy to figure out. Your child may not look so sick to you. So before you heat up the chicken soup and call your boss, you might...

Read the Is Your Kid Sick or Just Faking It? article > >

People with lung problems, including those with asthma, are at higher risk of respiratory problems associated with flu. A flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu and subsequent respiratory problems associated with it, including a worsening of asthma symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of the Flu and Asthma?

Call your doctor if you experience flu or asthma attack symptoms, including:

  • Increased shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Coughing up increased amounts of mucus
  • Yellow- or green-colored mucus
  • Fever (temperature over 101 degrees Fahrenheit) or chills
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Sore throat, scratchy throat, or pain when swallowing
  • Sinus drainage, nasal congestion, headache, or tenderness along your upper cheekbones

Call 911 if you are having trouble breathing.

What Should I Do if I Have Asthma and Get the Flu?

If you have symptoms of flu, call your doctor immediately for advice on how to prevent your asthma symptoms from worsening. Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine to help reduce your flu symptoms and make changes to your asthma action plan.

Make sure you follow the instructions in your written asthma action plan to self-manage asthma and keep asthma symptoms controlled. In addition, continue to check your peak flow rate to make sure your breathing is in the safe zone.

How Can I Prevent Infections That Trigger Asthma?

There are steps you can take to help prevent infections that can trigger asthma symptoms:

Next Article:

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

Take the WebMD Asthma assessment to get Personalized Action Plan

Start Now

Today on WebMD

Lung and bronchial tube graphic
5 common triggers.
group jogging in park
Should you avoid fitness activities?
 
asthma inhaler
Learn about your options.
man feeling faint
What’s the difference?
 
Madison Wisconsin Capitol
Slideshow
woman wearing cpap mask
Article
 
red wine pouring into glass
Slideshow
Woman holding inhaler
Quiz
 

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Man outdoors coughing
Article
Lung and bronchial tube graphic
Article
 
10 Worst Asthma Cities
Slideshow
runner
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections