Flu and Lung Disease
Flu and lung disease (like COPD and asthma) are both respiratory conditions that can affect an individual’s lungs. Having flu and lung disease puts you at greater risk of flu complications, which is why annual flu vaccination is important to prevent further issues.
Risks of Flu Illness for People with Lung Disease
Having flu and COPD or asthma puts you at greater risk of:
- COPD worsening
- asthma attacks
- complications such as pneumonia and other respiratory diseases
- progressive loss of lung function
- hospitalization and death
Benefits of Flu Vaccination for People with Lung Disease
Although flu vaccination may not prevent all flu illnesses, vaccination is still beneficial to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death.
Flu vaccination can:
- Prevent up to 78% of asthma attacks that lead to ER visits and hospitalizations
- Reduce hospital admissions for people with COPD by 38%
- Reduce heart rhythm disruptions in people with COPD by 38%
- Reduce COPD exacerbations
- Reduce outpatient visits for patients with COPD
- Decrease the risk of death
Flu Vaccines for People with Lung Disease
Injectable influenza vaccines (flu shots) are the best option for use in people with asthma. Everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine every year.
Nasal spray flu vaccines are not recommended for people with asthma. Because the nasal spray is a mist that’s sprayed into an individual’s nostrils, it could trigger asthma symptoms or an asthma attack. Talk to your healthcare provider about which vaccine is best for you.
Page last reviewed: November 2021.