May is Asthma Awareness Month! Do you know the link between influenza and asthma? Below, find out how you can help improve flu outcomes for people with asthma.
What is asthma?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that25 million people in the United States live with asthma. People diagnosed with asthma experience wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and/or coughing at night or early in the morning. Asthma can affect both children and adults and can be diagnosed at any age.
What happens if I have asthma and get sick with flu?
Flu and asthma are both respiratory conditions that affect an individual’s lungs. People with asthma are at greater risk of experiencing flu-related complications because their airways are already compromised, so the inflammation caused by flu symptoms can make their asthma worse. They could experience:
asthma attacks or a worsening of their lung disease
progressive loss of lung function
complications such as pneumonia and other respiratory diseases
How asthma can lead to flu hospitalizations: Nate Gorenstein’s story
Nate was a happy 4-year-old who had asthma. When he caught H1N1 flu in 2009, his asthma exacerbated his flu illness. What started out as just a cough flared up and quickly grew worse. His pediatrician sent him to the hospital and he was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Within five minutes of arriving to the PICU, he stopped breathing and needed to be put on a ventilator. Thankfully, after 12 days in the PICU, Nate’s condition improved and he was able to return home.
Read more about Nate’s flu and asthma experiencehere.
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