Many Factors at Play When Deciding to Get a Flu Shot

(WTHI File Photo)
(WTHI File Photo)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cold and flu season peaks from December to February.

This means now is the time to prepare.

While cold and flu season isn’t fun for anyone, did you know it can be more difficult for people with asthma?

Amy Laib is a second-year Resident with Union Health.

She explains, “In asthma, the airways close up and that’s how they get the wheezing. So if they get the influenza virus and severe infection, their airways are more sensitive to closing up.”

The CDC says asthmatics are not more likely to get the flu.

However, they are more likely to develop pneumonia after the flu.

That’s why Laib supports a yearly flu shot.

She says, “Our recommendation is everybody six months and older gets an annual flu shot and that is because it can save you from getting a more severe infection.”

Laib says she’s glad for improvements to the flu shot.

Now, even more people are able to get it.

She says, “About ten years ago if someone had an egg allergy we would tell them not to get the flu shot. But now, they’ve changed the amount of egg protein in the flu shot to less than a one thousandth of a weight a paper clip. We have not had any reports of bad reactions.”

With a busy Christmas shopping season ahead, Laib has one more suggestion.

She says, “Especially like newborns, we don’t recommend really taking them out to the mall or grocery shopping especially if you hear a lot of people coughing and hacking. Those little babies are not protected.”

Laib recommends fighting the urge to go into work when you’re sick.

The Resident says it usually takes 7-10 days for the flu to run its course.

She says it’s important to rest and stay hydrated, plus you limit the spread of the flu to co-workers.

Laib says while rare, some people get side effects from the flu shot.

Those include soreness where the shot was given, muscle soreness, a subjective fever, head ache, and fatigue.

But she says this is normal, because your body’s immune system is going into action.

Laib adds, “The influenza virus mutates very quickly. Every year we see different strains of the influenza virus so it’s very important to get the annual flu shot.”

The Indiana State Health Department urges asthmatics to cover their nose and mouth when going out into cold weather.

It says to be aware of indoor winter triggers like fireplaces or wood-burning stoves.