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When Flu and Asthma Mix Santa Monica, CA
Sneezing and Flu Santa Monica CA

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects 1 in 13 people, according to the CDC. While most people are able properly manage their respiratory condition and greatly minimize its symptoms, asthma becomes a serious threat for all asthma sufferers during flu season.

If you have asthma, it doesn’t mean that you are necessarily more likely to get the flu. However, you are at a much greater risk for complications related to the flu. Both the flu and asthma can compromise the respiratory system (your breathing), so having them at the same time can be a dangerous mix. In fact, the lungs can be exposed to permanent damage in some cases.

Flu and Respiratory Complications

Asthma is a life-long disease that can vary in severity for each individual. Asthma involves inflammation and narrowing of the airways. It can also mean extra production of mucus in the airways. These factors trigger common asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. While inhalers can help treat and manage asthma, some patients are vulnerable to serious, life-threatening asthma attacks.

Influenza (“the flu”) is a viral illness instead of a chronic disease like asthma. However, influenza can trigger symptoms of asthma and lead to respiratory complications that are difficult to fight off if you have asthma. Not only can your wheezing get worse, but the combination of the flu and asthma symptoms can increase your risk of pneumonia and hospitalization. Children and adults over 65 are at the most risk.

The statistics for asthmatic children during flu season is concerning. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 32 percent of children hospitalized for seasonal influenza between 2003 and 2009 had asthma. If you have a child with asthma, however, there are some things you can do to avoid the hospital during flu season.

Prevention is Key

First and foremost, asthma sufferers need to go the extra mile in preventing the flu virus. While there is no guarantee and foolproof method to avoid the flu, there are steps you can take before and during flu season to greatly lessen your chances of getting it and suffering severe consequences.

Start by getting your annual flu vaccine. This takes just minutes at your physician’s office, and it is typically at a low or no cost if you have insurance. Each annual vaccine is designed to prevent the four predicted predominate strains of influenza for that year. Don’t wait too late, as flu season can begin as early as October and extend into late May. Lastly, to prevent an asthma attack, get the nasal spray instead of the shot. Many asthma sufferers also find it beneficial to get the pneumonia vaccine if it is available, to further decrease their risk for serious flu complications.

Beyond vaccination, it is imperative that you practice good hygiene. Wash your hands more diligently during flu season and avoid touching your hands to your face. If you know of someone who has the flu, do your best to steer clear. The flu virus can contagious for up to 7 days or more!

Don’t Wait for Treatment

Sometimes even your best efforts don’t protect you from getting the flu. If you have asthma and experience flu symptoms (coughing, body aches, fever), don’t panic. However, don’t wait to call your doctor either. If the flu is caught within 24-48 hours, you can take a prescribed antiviral medication to suppress flu activity and reduce inflammation within your airways that could lead to serious threats for an asthma sufferer. There may also be antiviral therapy available to you if you believe you have been exposed to the flu, such as from a family member or co-worker. Don’t hesitate to ask your physician, as a proactive approach is encouraged when it comes to the flu and asthma.

Have more questions about what to do when the flu and asthma mix? Call Dr. Brent Michael. He is a caring and knowledgeable physician who cares about keeping your family healthy and safe during flu season.

Posted on behalf of Brent J. Michael, MD

2001 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 1260W
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Phone: 310-829-7777

FAX: 310-829-9951

Email:

Mon-Fri: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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Our Patient Reviews

Brent J. Michael, MD

4.7 / 5.0

Based on 34 reviews

Tammy Siever

Dr. Michael is the most Caring Dr. I have had the privilege of having taking care of my health needs. His calm and personal demeanor is above and beyond what I have ever experienced. I have never had issues with the the waiting time but, if ever I did I would not complain because he is worth the wait. I get his complete attention the entire visit. When I leave I feel very confident that he has completely covered my heath needs from head to toe. I would recommend him to anyone who wants is concerned or wants a Dr. to be concerned about their health.

Gianpaolo von Nacher

Dr. Michael has been our family doctor for over 10 years. He has always been the main pillar in our family care; specially a few years ago when my father wouldn’t have been able to get through a very difficult period without his care. He always goes the extra mile. His staff is amazing. Anita, his nurse, always efficient, loving and caring. Aileen, in the front desk, always responsive and helpful. I’m very grateful to have them on our side.

Mark B

I could literally write pages about Dr. Michael. I thankfully met him and his staff over 13 years ago after I had been suffering from a serious lung infection for over a month that 2 other doctors had missed.- 1 due to being totally arrogant and thinking I just had a cold. I was burning up and so sick I could barely walk. Dr. Michael took the time and actually listened to me - instead of just saying its probably just the flu (as the other doctors had done) or just a cold and sending me home, he actually did a complete physical on me an then had the intuition to order a chest x ray on me (I was not even coughing at the time) and then really looked at it and discovered that I actually had a really serious lung infection and started me on antibiotics. While this may sound like no big deal - it actually was, as he actually saw that it was not a normal looking lung infection and I later learned he went above and beyond and had a infectious disease specialist look at the x ray just to be safe and as he suspected it was even more serious. Since that day he has always been my main doctor. I would also like to add that I have a serious long term health condition and most doctors would generally attribute many of my current and past health issues to my main condition (it usually is the case) but Dr. Michael always looks at whatever is happening to me at the moment as if I was a new patient. This is probably his biggest talent and gift as a doctor as he has on more than one occasion over the years thought outside the box with me and has figured out quickly why I was sick at the time - sometimes it was minor but more than a few times it was really serious. His quick way of thinking and knowledge and intuition is what kept me from getting sicker and going into the hospital. If you are looking for a doctor that actually treats you like a person and not a number then see this man. I am not a celebrity or a wealthy person - far from it - but he treats me like I am - many Vets like myself go to the VA and its a great blessing but I just do not have the energy to go there as its so big. Dr. Michael is seriously brilliant and really patient and I am truly thankful I found him.

Edward Dragavon

Dr. Michael takes the time to explain the meaning of medical terms and test results in a way that a lay person can understand. He is very thorough and answers any question that you may have. His staff is also very professional and competent at their tasks. Given a choice, I wouldn't go anywhere else.

Tim Whalen

Dr. Michael is an intelligent caring human being who is focused on positive outcomes. He has a great ability to synthesize the details of lab results and other tests into preventive measures. I greatly respect his approach to care.

William Barry

A very smart and caring doctor. Very intuitive and yet he will base his decisions on test data. Patient for over 10 years. 5 stars

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logo Brent J. Michael, MD Santa Monica, CA

Brent J. Michael, MD

2001 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 1260W
Santa Monica, CA 90404

310-829-7777

310-829-9951

Mon-Fri: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM