October 30, 2015
Area(s) of Interest: Infectious Disease Patient Care Patient Education Public Health
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reminds physicians that people with asthma are more likely to get severe influenza. Asthma is the most common medical condition among children hospitalized with influenza and one of the more common conditions among hospitalized adults.
To help protect your patients with asthma, urge them to get immunized against influenza as soon as possible. Please review current recommendations closely; inactivated influenza vaccines may be used with fewer restrictions than live vaccine.
Because people with asthma are at greater risk for developing pneumonia, you should also recommend the pneumococcal vaccine, which may be given at the same time as the influenza vaccine.
Patients with asthma who do get the flu should be given antiviral drugs as early as possible, ideally within 48 hours after symptoms start. Oseltamivir is typically indicated rather than inhaled zanamivir.
CDPH also recommends these patient education materials, which are available for download and printing:
For more information, see the CDPH influenza page and the CDC influenza page.