6 Important Vaccines for People with Asthma

Get these shots to boost your health.

vaccine, vaccination, immunization, shot

Taking care of asthma doesn't just mean looking after your lungs—it means keeping your whole body in check. One of the easiest ways to protect your overall health and avoid damaging and deadly diseases is vaccination. Vaccines are especially important for people with chronic conditions (like asthma) who may have a harder time fighting illnesses. Also, regularly using corticosteroids for asthma may slightly weaken the immune system, but research on this potential risk has had mixed results. Either way, it's a good idea to protect yourself with these vaccines.

Vaccines to Protect Your Lungs

Flu vaccine: This yearly shot can be a drag, but the flu can be a real health danger for someone with asthma—causing serious illness and even death. There's a myth that the flu shot can bring on asthma symptoms, but medical research has found this to be untrue. Just avoid the live nasal spray vaccine, which may lead to wheezing and other symptoms.

Pneumococcal vaccine: This shot protects against pneumonia, a potentially deadly infection in the lungs. Asthma ups your risk for getting pneumonia and related infections, so people with asthma should get this vaccine. One shot protects you for most of your life. But you should get revaccinated if you're 65 or older, or if you've had kidney failure or cancer.

Tdap vaccine: Get this vaccine to protect against tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough), all of which can lead to very serious breathing problems. This shot is recommended for all adults if they didn't get it as a child and for pregnant women. And if it's been a long time since you've had this shot, or can't remember, ask your doctor if you need a Td booster.

Other Vaccines to Stay Well

Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine: This shot is recommended for people born in 1957 or after. Healthcare professionals, college students and international travelers are most at risk for getting measles, mumps and rubella. You can get two shots for extra protection against these diseases. In a small study, the MMR vaccine actually reduced the risk of children developing asthma.

Varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine: This vaccine protects against chickenpox. It's often given to children, but you can still get it as an adult if you've never gotten sick with chickenpox. This shot will also help protect your body from shingles, which come from the same virus.

Zoster (Shingles) vaccine: One study found that people with asthma were 70 percent more likely to develop shingles. People who have had chickenpox are at risk for getting shingles, an infection that shows up as a painful rash. This shot is recommended for people 50 and older. People who have already had shingles should also get this vaccine to prevent another infection.

Vaccine recommendations are complex and depend on your overall health and what immunizations you've had before, so ask your doctor which vaccines you need.

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