As you get ready to send your child with asthma back to school, add one more item to the top of your list: Get the flu and pneumococcal vaccines.
If your child has asthma, they should get both the flu and pneumococcal vaccines. These shots can go a long way toward keeping your child healthy this school year. They should get the flu shot every year, as early as possible. But they only have to get the pneumococcal vaccine once, with a booster shot every few years. Your child may have even gotten the pneumococcal vaccine as part of the recommended vaccine schedule for children. Check with your child’s doctor.
Having asthma puts your child in a high-risk category when it comes to flu and pneumococcal disease. Here are some reasons why they need these vaccines:
1. Your child has a better chance of avoiding the September Asthma Epidemic.
Every September, asthma rates spike, especially among school-aged children. More children go to the hospital for asthma during this month because of viral infections. After school starts, they are exposed to more allergens and respiratory infections. These can trigger asthma flare-ups. It’s best to get them vaccinated as soon as possible.
2. The flu and pneumococcal disease can be serious.
A school can be a hot bed of germs. This makes it easier for your child to come in contact with viruses and bacteria, like the flu and pneumococcal bacteria. Both can seriously affect children with asthma.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness. It can affect your lungs if you have asthma. This means your child could have serious problems if they get the flu. It can cause complications like pneumonia, an infection that causes your lungs to be inflamed and fill with fluid.
Pneumococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection. It can cause pneumonia, meningitis, bloodstream infections (sepsis) and ear infections. Children with asthma are at a greater risk of getting pneumonia if they are exposed to pneumococcal bacteria.
3. It’s part of a solid asthma management plan.
Asthma is a chronic disease. When it comes to asthma, preventing symptoms is one of the best ways to manage your child’s asthma. Your child’s doctor will probably recommend the flu and pneumococcal vaccines as part of an ongoing treatment plan.
4. People with an egg allergy can get the flu shot.
If your child has asthma and an egg allergy, they can still get the flu vaccine. Studies show that the flu shot is safe for everyone with an egg allergy, even if you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to eggs.
5. These vaccines are one of the best ways to protect your child with asthma.
If your child with asthma gets the flu or pneumonia, they have a higher chance of flare-ups and complications. This could mean many missed school days, poor school performance and even hospitalizations. Both illnesses can also cause death, especially among high-risk groups like young children and those with asthma. Protect your child by getting them and your entire family vaccinated for a healthy and successful school year.