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Flu Shot Is Safe for People With Asthma

Medically Reviewed by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD
From the WebMD Archives

Nov. 21, 2001 -- Flu season is upon us but people with asthma might not realize how much they could benefit from the flu vaccine. And it's safe for children and adults with this common condition, despite some common misperceptions.

People with lung problems are more likely to get serious problems from the flu, such as pneumonia. So, the flu vaccine is recommended for people with asthma, but currently fewer than 10% get the shot.

Previous research has shown that the vaccine can prevent problems in those with asthma. But, the concern has been whether or not the flu vaccine might cause an asthma attack within the weeks following the shot.

But new research in the Nov. 22 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine should serve to make people with asthma feel much better about the vaccine. And the researchers hope that this will encourage people to get the vaccine in order to prevent more sickness down the road.

In order to see if the vaccine is safe in people with asthma, researchers from the American Lung Association Asthma Clinical Research Centers looked at over 2,000 children and adults from 3 to 64 years old.

Half of the people got the flu vaccine and the other half got a placebo shot to see if there was any difference in people who suffered an asthma attack.

The researchers found no difference in asthma attacks between those who did and didn't get the flu vaccine. This means that the vaccine does not appear to cause asthma attacks and is safe for both children and adults. They say that the vaccine is even safe in people with severe asthma.

The researchers say that both people with asthma and their doctors should be reassured by these findings. And they should feel comfortable with recommendations from the CDC that people with asthma should get the flu shot.

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