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Now is the time to take action and protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu. Did you know the flu vaccine provides good protection from severe symptoms? Or that people with asthma are at higher risk for more severe flu symptoms or complications?

Here are a few answers to the most common questions about the flu.

When Is Peak Flu Season?

Flu season runs from fall through spring. It usually peaks from December through February. Get your flu vaccine as soon as possible at the beginning of flu season so you can be protected before flu hits your community. Flu vaccines are usually available beginning in September.

Is the Flu Vaccine Safe for People With Asthma?

Not only is the flu vaccine safe for people with asthma, but it can also be life-saving. Asthma is a chronic disease where the airways are inflamed (swollen). Triggers, such as allergens, pollution, and infections, can cause this swelling.

The flu, also called influenza, is a lung infection caused by a virus. Many people recover from the flu without problems. But having asthma puts you at risk of serious health problems – called β€œcomplications” – from the flu, such as pneumonia, a lung infection.

People with asthma already have sensitive airways. This means they have a higher chance of serious flu complications and worse asthma symptoms.1 To avoid these complications, it is especially important that people with asthma, and people living with them, get the flu vaccine.2

How Can I Tell the Difference Between the Flu, COVID-19, Asthma, and Allergies?

Some symptoms are similar between the flu and other illnesses and conditions. See our chart below to compare symptoms between the flu, a cold, COVID-19, asthma, and allergies.

Can I Get the Flu Vaccine and the COVID-19 at the Same Time?

Yes! You can get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.

Is the Nasal Spray Vaccine a Good Choice for People With Asthma?

For the 2021-2022 flu season, some people with asthma can get the nasal spray vaccine. Here is what the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends:

  • Ages 6 months to 4 years should get the flu shot.
  • Ages 4 years and older: If your asthma is under control with no symptoms, you can get the flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine.
  • Ages 4 years and older: If you have recent asthma episodes or wheezing, get the flu shot.

Is the Flu Vaccine Safe for People With an Egg Allergy?

Yes. If you have a current or past egg allergy, you can get the flu vaccine, even if you have had severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to egg. The same is true for children.

The following organizations recommend getting the flu vaccine every year, even if you have an egg allergy:

  • AAFA
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI)
  • American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI)

BOTTOM LINE: It is safe for ALL people with an egg allergy to receive a flu vaccine every year. This is true no matter how severe your egg allergy was in the past. This includes anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction) to egg.


The take-home message? The flu vaccine is a critical part of keeping your asthma well-controlled. It could save your life or the life of a loved one with asthma.

Medical Review April 2021 by Sarah Goff, MD, PhD, and October 2021 by David Stukus, MD

It is important to stay up to date on news about asthma and allergies. By joining our community and following our blog, you will receive news about research and treatments. Our community also provides an opportunity to connect with other patients who manage these conditions for support.

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References

1. Flu and People with Asthma | Seasonal Influenza (Flu) | CDC. (2019). Cdc.gov. Retrieved 25 September 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/asthma/index.htm
2. Who Needs a Flu Vaccine and When. (2019). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 25 September 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/vaccinations.htm

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is the largest and oldest nonprofit patient organization dedicated to asthma and allergies. Our online community includes public blogs. To post a comment, you will need to register or sign in.

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